Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mess o' Feathers

Brazil, our black Australorp hen, on the right.
Looking normal.

And Brazil; molting.

You can see how her feathers are growing back.

"Molting is a natural and necessary process by which chickens lose old, broken, worn out, and soiled feathers for new plumage on a regular basis.  It is important that a chicken grow new feathers from time to time because the integrity of a bird's feathers affects how well that bird is able to keep itself warm in cold weather."

For more about molting see this page.

Normally Brazil would be perched up on a roost in the coop.

But she's been spending her nights in one of the nesting boxes, cuddled up with Tootsie.
It's the "top" chicken and the "bottom" chicken of the pecking order sharing a warm spot at night.

Update:  No, we don't do anything special to keep our hens warm in the winter.  But we chose the breeds we have with our winter weather in mind.

It's true;  our hens "know what they like".
And just look at all the wild birds around.  They puff up their feathers and fall asleep in the trees. Our hens have a roof over their heads and protection from wind.  They have access to the nesting boxes with room to spare if the roosts get too cold for them.  But they usually do prefer being outside (still inside the coop area) sitting on a roost.  We've only seen them move into the nesting box area when it's extremely cold, or as is the case now, when one of them is molting.

Tootsie, being one of our oldest hens at 6 years, seems unable to get onto a roost at all so she stays in a nesting box at night.


Country Girl said...

We put a bench out in front of our chicken yard over the summer...I just love watching them do their chicken-y thing!

Pat said...

Never thought about them having to deal with the winter. Do you ever have to use heaters ? Looks like you can close up the sides if needed.


Hi Victoria, Your feathered family members are so sweet and cuddly in their house.

D said...

Victoria! love your girls. Isn't it a shame they molt in the winter?! Our 2 Ameracaunas did so in early November and now the Barred Rock are finally getting theirs back. It is a pitiful sight but not much to do. We'll be happy when the days get longer so the eggs will start coming again. Thank goodness for our New Hampshire_ she has been a fervent layer.