Moulting or Molting

Moulting or Molting, english or american spelling, it still results in the same, feathers everywhere. For those who are unaware of the process, moulting occurs normally once a year, can happen twice depending on the climate. The bird will  gradually shed a considerable amount of it’s feathers, I have noticed it generally starts with the tail feathers, then spreads to the rest of the body. Now the bird doesn’t become bald all of a sudden,  the process happens over a period of weeks, can last for months, depending on the condition of the bird at the start of the process.

In my observations of our hens, it started with one bird, and then a few days later, others joined  the shedding process, interestingly the top hens Nancy and Manuella were the last to start. During this time of renewing their feathers, the laying stops, as the bird is putting all of its energy into the growth of the new feathers, they can become very subdued, spending alot of time sleeping during the day. One other thing I have just noticed, is that their combs seem to shrink down and lose some of their colour, side effect of directing all that energy to the feathers I suspect.

Moulting Manuella

The moulting or molting process, is to renew their weakened and damaged feathers to prepare themselves for winter and better their chance of escape from any predators, perhaps this is why they stagger  the moulting in the flock, so they can maintain some overall strength and protection. Make they have grit (calcium = crushed seashells) in their feed.

They do look a bit of a mess while this is all going on, however when they have finished, they look splendid in their new plumage, like a group of ladies who have just returned from a fancy hair salon.

Advertisements

Return Of The Keeper

Hi readers, thanks to all of you who dropped by while I was gone fishing. It was a lovely week of sand surf and sun, caught one fish too small to eat, back it went into the sea til next year. There’s a new pic in The Secret Layer of the beautiful location.

Returned home to find all hens in order, thanks to our lovely chicken sitters, The Stokoe Family. Daisy’s comb has healed alot after being attacked by a Pukeko, it nearly ripped the whole comb off, and left her with a couple of nasty gashes in the top of her head, they have been very protective of their space as they have small chicks at the moment, and Daisy got too close.

A strange demonic looking cat has taken up residence in our garden since we have been away. It has white eyes, very scruffy appearance, and appears to have killed a rat in the run, the hens are aware of the cat, but don’t seem too perturbed.

Alls well.