Have you ever seen a molting chicken? Neither had I. I didn’t realize chickens went through an annual molt. And I think I have the dumbest chickens because apparently they usually molt in the fall…mine waited until January when they could lose all their neck feathers and freeze to death. Chickens aren’t the smartest animals. Seriously. Like a rock.
Probably taking the chickens to Montana for the Christmas holiday didn’t help. My poor chickens probably got stressed. Well, Butterfly and Angel anyway. They look much worse than they did when they were in their awkward teenage state. Here is a photo of Angel. Check out her feather loss on her neck. She looks ridiculous – like her head is about to fall off her body.
At first, Joe was worried that she was dying. I had to do some research, checking for parasites and the like, but you can see new feathers growing back in if you look carefully. I assured him that she was not dying.
Here is a shot of Butterfly. She is also losing neck feathers, but she doesn’t look as bad as Angel.
Sorry the images are a touch on the blurry side. It was a bugger to get the girls to hold still today and I was a butterfingers. Anyhow…that is what a molting chicken can look like, although I searched the web and saw some much worse looking birds. Molting without any regard to decency or decorum. Here’s to hoping those feathers grow back sooner rather than later, grow babies, grow! We want to get more eggs again. (Another fact I did not know – when a chicken molts, she stops laying in order to put protein reserves toward feather production. And it hurts her new feathers to pick her up, so handling the birds during molting is a no-no.)
Courage and Dragon must be a bit smarter. They aren’t molting as far as I can tell. They must realize it is still freezing at night and that would be STUPID. Well, I am off. Happy chicken keeping and if you have any chickens dumb (or travel stressed) enough to be molting in January, I wish you the best of luck and super fast feather growing speed!