Scruffy and Scraggly

It’s not surprising that many of the emails I get from HenBlog readers have to do with plumage. After all, it’s the feathers —  the variety, the shimmer, the lovely fluff of them –that make our chickens so lovely. People into the “fancy” — that is, those who take their chickens to poultry shows — select chickens for conformation and how they fit the “type” (think dog show, but with chickens.) They also select their show stock for how perfect their plumage is. My hens are not fit to show. Snowball has wayward feathers that jut out. Ginger has rubbed her neck so that now no feathers grown in a stripe down it. Petunia has lost the feathers near the base of  the tail and they’ll never grow back. Buffy was pecked at when she was younger, and she has a bald spot on her head. All of this is normal for backyard hens. But if you want to see chickens with perfect, bathed, fluffed and glossed feathers, and if you want to see plumage extravagant and fanciful, go to a poultry show. Poultry Press is the paper that lists the shows. Check my chicken keeping Web site for details.

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