About half of my hens started molting back in the sweltering days of August. Remember when Lulu looked like this?
Well, she’s back in full-feather, looking beautiful.
But she’s still crazy.
The weather has turned. There’s frost on the ground in the mornings, blowing winds and a chill damp to the air. You’d think it wasn’t the best time to molt, but a half dozen chickens are running around part-naked. Here’s Blackie in the wind. She looks a tad cold, doesn’t she?
But, this time of year does have it’s comforts. Now that the growing season is over, I let the girls into the flower beds. The dirt is warm, loose and inviting. It must feel really good on those bare patches of skin and the itchy, emerging quills. Look closely and you can count six chickens crowded into this spa. There’s plenty of other spots to dirt bathe in, but the chickens like to do this together – despite the downside of having dirt kicked into one’s face by a neighbor!
I’m not worried about the molting girls being cold. They have patches of sun to laze in, there are plenty of remaining feathers to fluff up and insulate their bodies with, and at night they roost together – looking rather like a moth-eaten feather blanket hanging on a rack, but warm nonetheless. By the time it is brutally cold, they’ll all have on their toasty-warm feather coats and I’ll be jealous of their comfort while I do my barn chores in the mornings.