Monday, November 28, 2011

New Feathers After Molt

The hens are so pretty in their fancy new fluffy feather outfits after molting
even on this grey overcast day.

Buff Orpington
I think this is the hen we call the house chicken. She is the one who survived the predator attack. She had two good sized wounds and spent a lot of time inside in a pen and got used to all the special care. I haven't noticed it, but Kristine says she has a very slight limp. She is a big Buff.
Buff Brahma & Buff
I cut up some cabbage and kale and scattered it on the porch so I would have a fairly good chance of getting some decent photos. The chickens do not stand still for picture taking.
Two Light Brahmas & Buff
After I took a few photos, all of a sudden all but 3 hens took off in a big hurry around the side of the house? Morgan looked... I looked... ?

Australorp, Light Brahma, Buff Brahma,
Australorp, Buff
Then they came scurrying back. I think one of the hens picked up something and ran away with it and the other hens ran after her to get a share. I don't know what happened because I didn't go look. I was busy taking photos of the hens that stayed... evidently those 3 are the smart ones.

I gave Morgan a few small pieces of cabbage before I gave the rest to the chickens. She really likes cabbage and would like to give the hens some competition in the scramble for the greens.

Wyandotte, Buff, Buff Brahma
Here is how I tell who is who in the flock:
Australorps - Black
Cochin - Buff color, feathers on feet
Golden Lace Wyandottes - brown & gold
Light Brahmas - White
Buff Brahmas - Buff color, dark tail/neck, feathers on feet
Buff Orpingtons - Buff color, no feathers on feet

No eggs yesterday. We don't use any extra lighting to force eggs laying. In fact, since I covered the pen there is way less light in the coop so that may have contributed to the low egg production. We want the hens to lay naturally and stay healthy. They have a cold winter to get through and they are getting to be old chickens. I think they are around 6 years old and even though their life span is said to be up to around 10 years with even 15+ being reached, still I would rather have healthy non-stressed chickens. They will lay when they are ready. That's a lot of work making all new feathers!

Last night I was talking about getting a rooster, but we decided only if we could get another one like we had. He was docile, quiet (he crowed once or twice in the morning) and he didn't drive the hens nuts or mess up their feathers. A coyote got him. Our roosters never seem to last very long.


Becky's Barnyard said...

Very pretty hens. The hens look great with their new feathers.

Terry and Linda said...

COYOTES! And foxes...a fox climbed INTO the pen and took a hen and climbed back out before our friends could get out there and stop it.


Wonky Girl said...

Your hens are looking good. Mine are still scruffy looking. Our backyard is full or roosters, come take your pick. Black Cochin, Silky, several fancy bantams. LOL

diane b said...

Woohoo the girls do look fine in their new coats.

LindaG said...

Thanks so much for all the information; and for sharing your pictures.
Your chickens all look great!

Witch Hazel said...

Lovely pics Callie. I have an Australorp too (Florence). They have the most wonderful eyes. Hazelx

Jess said...

They ARE just incredibly beautiful after molting, aren't they!? I have one girl mid-moult right now, and she looks just miserable.

I'm always torn on whether roosters are worth the trouble. But it's fun having chicks.

Bloody Frida said...

Last winter, we kept a light on in the coop - we won't be doing that this year as I don't want to wear the poor biddies out!

Love your flock!