Chicken Molting in the Winter in Colorado

Posted by Cassie

Frosty tree against a blue sky
After the sky cleared up it left frost on the trees against a blue sky

I noticed that our leghorn chicken (the white one) was looking a little sparse in the feathers around her neck the other day, but Britton just kind of dismissed it. Then,  I went into the greenhouse to fill up their water and it looked like someone had had a pillowfight in there. There were white feathers everywhere! She is looking pretty ragged and I am pretty certain that she is molting. Why in the world would a chicken molt when it is negative 15 degrees? Don’t ask me, but she is…She has also stopped laying eggs which is common in the winter anyway to conserve energy when it is cold and also because they don’t lay eggs when molting. (We actually had to buy eggs for the first time since August so I could make chocolate chip cookies.)

Chickens and feathers

Now that she doesn’t have quite the same level of “down coat” that she did before, I am a little more worried about her in the cold. We might run an extension cord and a light bulb for heat. My dad says to put a box, even a cardboard box in there with hay and a blanket or towel over it so they can conserve heat. The problem is that they still like to get up high at night and roost on the board or roosting stick we put up there. If we can get through this cold part of winter, I think they will be tougher for it…

Here are a few more pictures around the yard and neighborhood.

Winter Fog over the lake out back
Fog over the lake out back 


Schnoodle and Kitty in Greeley
Kitty and Schnoodle follow the path we made in the snow from our house to the greenhouse

Kitty Walking up the Path
Kitty walking up the path to the house

Schnoodle in the snow
Schnoodle with a snow beard

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2 thoughts on “Chicken Molting in the Winter in Colorado

  1. debbie


    I was doing a google search for chickens molting in the winter since one of my little hens has started doing just that. She’s picked the coldest month to be outside naked in the cold. Did you end up doing anything special to help out your hen? I’d be interested in knowing.


  2. Cassie

    Hi Debbie,
    That’s exactly what has happened with our hens, two years in a row. The first year we didn’t do anything except add extra hay and we moved the small coop into our cold frame greenhouse so that it would warm up in the day. This year, we put a heat lamp in there and will turn it on if it gets below zero.They are pretty hardy birds, but they definitely look healthier in the spring/summer/fall.
    Thanks for visiting!


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