Molting Madness

At the hen house, the older ladies are shedding feathers by the hundreds. It makes the birds looks so sickly, but it’s a natural part of a healthy bird’s rhythm. My oldest hens molt at this time each year, and are all synced together. The second oldest (2 years) have also lined up with them for molting. Not sure when the younger girls will choose to drop feathers, but I’ll know when it’s happening. You can’t miss it. My hope is to have everyone on the same rhythm by next year. When molting happens, egg production slackens, as the calcium that was going into egg shells must now go to feather growth.

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The flock is looking good. All the younger hens from this year’s purchased chicks are filling out and starting to lay. There are two Ayam Cemani roosters in with this flock now, and one is definitely king of the roost. The more submissive male is smaller, and good at getting away. I think they will work together in the coop, but I’m still keeping a close eye on them.

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Today I let the flock out to free roam for a bit, encouraging them to pick up after the scalding work we did this last weekend on the pigs. The ladies were very enthusiastic about the job, and eagerly pecked up any scrap of hide or fat still on the ground. I appreciate their cleaning and gleaning around the farm, and look forward to more work in the gardens as fall sets in. These hens work hard to keep down pests and turn the topsoil with scratching as nature intended.

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3 thoughts on “Molting Madness

  1. Susan says:

    Just thinking about gathering the feathers…too tricky??
    Could stuff a couple of small pillows eventually?
    Love how the birds are ‘working’ for their feed!
    Looking good at Leafhopper!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Leafhopper Farm says:

    Sometimes I gather, but molted feathers are usually tattered and muddy, even in the straw floor of the coop. I’ve gathered feathers before and ended up not using them. There are also feather eating bugs here which can get into almost any storage to eat them. Borax would be a solution for that. I’ve just never done it because there are so many other things here to do. 😉

    Like

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