Thursday, October 13, 2011
I'm not sure how I've lived around chickens since High School and never known about molting. It seems chickens do it every year - they shed their old feathers, making room for shiny new ones. Why they would do it at the beginning of fall is beyond me - seems you would want to keep all that extra insulation around as the weather cools off. Anyhow, it turns out that my chickens are not being attacked by squirrels at night, the reason my paranoid mind had come up with for why my chickens were looking so bedraggled and had stopped laying eggs. This is just a normal part of being a chicken - I can sympathize. It's hard being a lady.
In addition to not laying eggs - which is the most inconvenient part for me - they all seem a little down in the dumps. Normally they come running out to meet me whenever I go outside, follow the boys and me around the yard clucking merrily, and are happy to be pet or even carried around. Since they started molting, though, they take off for the pasture as soon as I let them out in the morning and hide from us until they come back to roost at night. They are probably embarrassed; they do look pretty bad. There are always a couple who stay in the nesting boxes, sadly huddled together not laying any eggs. These two seemed pretty insulted by my picture taking. I'm hoping my gals get back to laying eggs soon - I guess some chickens stop laying when they molt and don't start up again until after winter. Yikes! But now that I know it is molting and not a hen strike I feel more compassionate about the whole thing and promise to stop threatening to eat them.