|[Goldie (Buff Orpington) in molt, new feathers coming in and old ones falling out.]|
With the days growing shorter and the girls all over 1 year old, its raining feathers around here. I could seriously stuff some big pillows, but they would be a little pokey. The girls look just awful...talk about your worst hair day! This is our first molting since the girls are so young. Thank goodness I've studied up on chicken keeping because I didn't remember it being this bad when I was a kid. Of course as a kid I probably just had fun catching the feathers blowing all around.
Just look at these girls...awful!
|[Barbara (Barred Rock in center), Buffy (Buff Orpington in back), Snowball's butt (White Rock)]|
Talk about bad hair day...look at Barbara with feathers falling off of her everywhere. Her head is looking so much nicer as the new feathers come in.
|[Barbara (Barred Rock). See the loose feathers everywhere?]|
Buffy is nearing the end of molting with just her butt bare, but with new feathers sprouting there...
|[Buffy's finally down to mostly just the butt area in full molt.]|
If you look closely at Goldies butt...yeah I know you probably don't want to but look anyway...she has a bunch of new tiny feathers poking out all over.
|[Goldie has a bunch of new feathers poking out of her bare rear-end.]|
My poor girls are still laying, but they have slowed way down. I swear I find more feathers then eggs in the nest boxes every day. I just keep picking them out when I collect their eggs.
|[Egg production down, feather production up!]|
To help the girls ease through this phase without completely depleting them nutritionally, I have upped their protein. We are still getting about 6-8 eggs a day from my 16 girls, so I can't complain. The neighbor down the hill from us isn't getting any, his chickens just stopped laying all together.
I've had to put a halt on selling eggs to anyone other than my long time regulars, because there aren't many left after we have our breakfast. Just this morning I was short an egg for breakfast so I had to go out and steal one hot off the presses, the bloom was barely dry when I grabbed it. Talk about Fresh!!
As I said, I've upped their protein by adding some dried split peas or wheat berries to their fermented feed. They also get some dried meal worms in the afternoon, and of course they get to come out and hunt down whats left of the grasshoppers and other critters before they go to bed for the night. How are you helping your girls make it through the molting season?
Keeper of 1 husband, 3 dogs,
3 cats, and 16 Chickens!