Well, there’s no doubt now that some of the chickens have begun to molt. Henny Penny feathers are everywhere Henny Penny has been, as if she’s leaving a trail of breadcrumbs to find her way home, except that she never really strays that far from home. Lately they barely leave the vicinity of the run, but that just must mean that the bugs around there are so good, there’s no need to travel elsewhere. Under the roost and the run itself are both getting lined nicely with her feathers, like there’s constant pillow fights going on. In the interest of not being left out, others are also joining the molting festivities. I spotted a Steve or John tailfeather in the coop the other day, and one of the Mandrell Sisters has a stumpy looking butt because all her tailfeathers have fallen out. It looks a little silly, but they’re chickens. Looking silly is kind of their bit.
I’m actually pretty glad that they’re molting so early this year. Last year I don’t think they started until December, and it was really cold. That’s not a good time to go out without a jacket, or too light of one, which is basically what they’re doing when they molt. Lately, around here, it’s been extremely hot. We’ve had a couple of weeks of it being in the 90s, only to finally have it get seasonable again in the last week. September is usually when I look forward to temperatures getting comfortable, but this year took its time. So shedding some feathers in the heat probably makes sense. It’s like taking off your shirt. Your chicken shirt. Luckily, our yard is pretty private, so we don’t have to worry about anyone peeping at our shirtless chickens.
The unseasonably warm and dry weather makes me wonder if this is any indication of the winter to come. Probably not, but after getting hammered so badly by snow last year, I need some small bit of hope to cling to. I’m not ready for another winter of any kind, but certainly not of the proportions of last year. Even if it wasn’t snowing, it was freezing, and it was usually snowing. I have a great picture I took of ice on the train platform that I nearly lost my hand trying to get because of how cold it was. That’s the price I pay for art! But the memory of the cold makes me especially concerned about the chickens being re-feathered by the time winter gets here. Having exposed skin in those sorts of temperatures, especially with the wind we also got, is not a good idea. If I thought molting was something they could plan, I would think they’re getting a jump on things because they too remember last year. I think it’s really just a lucky coincidence.
The downside of molting is that we get fewer eggs. Plenty of loose feathers, but not many eggs. We’ve got a pretty good egg stockpile, so I think we’ll get by. But at some point we’ll eat what we have, and hopefully by then the ladies will be back in business. Steve, John, and Suzy Creamcheese Junior are all breeds that are supposed to be good winter layers, so hopefully they can prove themselves this year. There’s nothing more shameful than having to buy eggs when you have chickens you won’t shut up about. Hopefully my plan to have a steady supply throughout the winter months thanks to Steve, John, and Suzy Creamcheese Junior will work, or it’s back to wearing disguises to the grocery store come January. I suppose I could make one out of all the feathers they’re shedding right now. That wouldn’t draw any attention to me at all.
(CREDITS: Theme music: Chicken In The Barnyard by Fireproof Babies, Music bed: Tishomingo Blues Introducing Some Chocolate Drops by Yerkes American Marimbaphone Band)