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.

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