Here we go with a bulk update, so I can hope to make a bit of progress on catching up with today.
I’ve been keeping an eye on these hazels in this shrub clump from near the chicken coop. I think it’s fun to watch their progress.
Here is September 21.
And as it the sun rises later and sets earlier as the season heads from autumn to winter, and the temperatures drop… the chickens do a few things… like lay eggs less often. Their bodies are getting signals from the sun and the temperature… and also, they all are getting their feathers ready for winter…. which is good, ’cause a few of the ladies are a bit … worn. I could probably prevent that by getting rid of one or two more roosters, but the fewer roosters, the less protection for the flock. So at this point, it’s a balance between love worn ladies and raccoon, opossum, fox, and other predator swiped/eaten/dissappeared chickens. Right now, the guys seem to be doing pretty well.
And right about now, there are a lot of feathers starting to turn up on the coop floor, as both the hens and roosters have started to molt. Some do it more gracefully than others, and some are easier to see it progressing on, as they’re already partially bald. The new feathers grow in in a sort of tubular sheath to protect them as the form. This whole progress looks a bit …porcupine-esque and a tad funny, and also takes up a lot of extra protein from the chicken. That’s another reason the hens have slowed down in laying–they’re mostly older gals, so that slows their laying again, but they’re also currently (at the time of the pictures) busy using their protein they’re ingesting to help renew their body, so there’s not a lot to spare making little protein orbs to lay out as eggs. Since I noticed they were molting, I’ve switched their feed from a layer pellet (I find crumbles end up with a lot more waste dust than the crumbles, so since the flock is all old enough and large enough to eat pellets, pellets it is!) to something with more protein in it, which this particular brand calls “Feather Fixer” formula. It seems to have worked, as they did seem to do well through their molt progress. The flock still took a while for them all to complete the progress, but individually it seemed better this year… maybe it was all in my head, but even if it didn’t help, it didn’t hurt, and I feel better that they did have the extra protein available in their diet to help them along.
Anyway, back to the pictures.
This is Oregano, she’s one of the older gals in the flock. She doesn’t lay very often anymore (… like once or twice last summer) but she also, despite a leg deformity she’s had since I got her, has managed to not get gakked by foxes and raccoons so I think she’s one of the smart old ladies in the flock. I don’t like killing chickens just because they’re not laying eggs, so she’s going to be around for a while longer. She’s not looking to sleek right now, feather-wise as she’s dropping feathers for molt, and growing others back in… I think she might be a Barred Plymouth Rock.
The bird below is Bubbles, another older gal in our flock. She’s molting pretty hard!
The yellowish hen is Sunny Side, she’s from 2016’s brood hatched by Pixie. She’s one of the younger gals in the flock, as we didn’t have any hatch last spring (2017). I didn’t want to risk all those cheeping babies drawing raccoons into the yard while I’m not home if Doc goes on a trip this spring/summer. When he’s home, even if I’m gone for the day, the dogs go in and out of the house, and make noise in the yard, which we’ve noticed makes a difference on critter visits to the yard and coop area. The red and dark-shiny rooster is Dire… so named ’cause when he was an egg, his egg was big, he hatched to be larger than the others, and he’s definitely a heftier rooster than Gizmo, who’s the same age, and about as tall, but is much leggier. Dire is from the 2015 hatching, if I remember correctly.
The white and black rooster is “Mac-N-Cheese”, and the cat is Indy, she was found in one of our temporary coops as a young kitten, and while we going to ‘foster’ her until there was room at the local shelters again Doc decided she was his little cammo kitty so… yah, she’s part of the family. And she likes the chickens, and checks in on them. And of course, on anyone with a camera, or where she can get some attention and cuddles.
Thanks for checking in with the chickens and eggs update, have a great day!