October 22, 2009

behold...the molting process!

Folks, I'm here to tell you about one of the wonders of nature.

About this time of year, our laying hens go through a process called molting. What is molting you say? Well, just before the cold weather sets in, a chicken loses its feathers and regrows new ones. Just in time for full feathered fluffy warmth when the cold temperatures arrive. It's truly an amazing process and quite a sight to behold. During the molt, the hens lay far fewer eggs as the majority of their energy is put towards growing new feathers. They also eat more and require a bit more protein as feathers are made up of mostly protein. They also get a little....well, bitchy. We are very friendly with our hens and spend a lot of time with them and we notice that they tend to want to be off on their own while molting. Maybe they just don't wish to be seen in such a disheveled state. I can't really blame them. A 'No hair' day is way worse than a bad hair day!

Example. . .

This is 'Lazy Eye Hen' looking extra bummed that she's such a hot mess.
First, the feathers fall out. Sometimes they fall out to the point of 'naked' and sometimes they lose them while replacing them simultaneously. See on this next photo, the pin feathers that are coming in on her chest?

And check this girl out below. See all the pin feathers on her head and wing?

This is an after shot. Now doesn't she look beautiful?! And look at all of that nice extra fluff under her feathers. She'll be nice and toasty this winter.

Amazing, right? Nature never ceases to amaze me.

October 17, 2009


It's Fall!?! How did we get here already? It seems like just yesterday we were in the height of the season; overworked, overheated and up to our eyeballs in chickens. I can't believe we're quickly approaching the end of our second season. We raised more chickens this year and somehow it still wasn't enough. We have been overwhelmed by the demand for our chicken and I think that's a good problem to have.

Well, I'll tell you....we have some HAPPY turkeys right now. Nate worked his farmer butt off making this very unique shelter for them.

See, those wheels in the middle flip up and down. You flip them down on each side and it raises the shelter up so it can be easily moved and then you flip the wheels up to lower it to the ground. It's genius, right?

We don't have crates big enough to fit these guys so we had to carry them one by one to move them into their new digs. And let me tell you, those males are big strong suckers! I know it looks like I've got him under control but my inner voice was saying "hurry up and take the damn picture, Nate. He's gonna bust loose!" I got wing slapped many a time that day.

Happy, happy turkeys. We have another shelter that's not as fancy with more turkeys and we move both of the shelters several times a day to keep up with their appetite for grass.

Right now our last batch of meat chickens of the season is ready to process. We're having the absolute worst weather, and have been for days, which is making things very difficult for us but we have to do it anyway. Once these chickens are gone, it's just turkeys and laying hens.

We are desperately trying to figure out what to do next as we have to find another living arrangement after Thanksgiving. This little camper does have heat but it is not winterized and the pipes will freeze. Plus, it's starting to be a pain in the ass. We are looking for a new farm as the clock tick tocs. It is crazy stressful and we're really hoping something comes along quick. Keep your fingers crossed for us. WE NEED A FARM!