Bare bottoms and ruffled feathers

It is, as Winnie the Pooh would say, a very blustery day. In years gone by, this would not have been too much of an issue for me – I would have settled down with my editing, putting not so much as my nose out of the door. But not so now – keeping livestock means that you have to consider their needs before your own and you must venture outdoors whatever the weather. In my case, it’s only ensuring the welfare of four chickens, which doesn’t take long, but it does make me appreciate the dedication of all those farmers who care for their animals in all conditions 365 days of the year.

So, out I went in my pjs, wellies and raincoat first thing this morning to let the hens out, check their water and feed and give them a handful or two of corn. Out they pop, whatever the weather, and start to scratch around. They seem to prefer to drink from a puddle rather than their water bowl when it’s wet – I guess the mud gives it flavour!

The wind ruffles their feathers and they get soggy in the rain, but most chickens are waterproof and well-insulated and they have a dry house with perches and nest boxes, so they don’t have to be exposed to the elements. Unfortunately, however, naked chickens are not so protected from the elements and so we need to keep an eye on poor Tiffany.

A week ago she looked like this:

Bye-bye feathers

Bye-bye feathers

Just a couple of days ago, she looked like this:

A bad-hair day, chicken-style

A bad-hair day, chicken-style

And now, she’s getting lots of feathers on her back, but her rear-end is rather exposed:

I think she might need some big pants if those feathers don't grown back soon

I think she might need some big pants if those feathers don’t grown back soon

Hopefully, it won’t be too long before she returns to her warm and feathery glory like Anna in the background here:

Back: Anna, post-moult; Front: a very tatty Tiffanny

Back: Anna, post-moult; Front: a very tatty Tiffany

Chickens with full plumage, like Esme below, may get ruffled, but are simply not bothered by a day like today:

A fully-feathered bottom weathering a very blustery day

A fully-feathered bottom weathering a very blustery day

So, here’s to all those dedicated people who are out in the fields and on the hills caring for their cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry whatever the weather.

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  1. Why is she losing feathers?

  2. Hear, hear! She’s obviously in good health, since the new feathers are growing in very quickly.

    • Yes, she’s not sulking like they do sometimes. Are you any further ahead with Chookonia? I’m so looking forward to reading about your flock once they arrive.

      • There is a good bit of physical labour involved in the fencing, never a favourite in this climate. It keeps getting put off. I’m rapidly approaching the point of wanting a mobile ark so we can just get the Girls in and started… Fencing can come later. If it were all down to me…

  3. Your not tempted to knit her a pair of bloomers yet ?? LOL

  4. Since I had all my hair cut off I’m looking a bit bedraggled and wonky, just like your your poor girl. Luckily for us both regrowth is fairly rapid and soon we will be returned to our full glory – except mine will be a different colour 🙂

  5. nettyg

     /  November 9, 2015

    They’re not a pretty sight when moulting, in fact, look downright neglected:) I have 3 heirloom girls who also have a moult in autumn, which is not so bad here, as it’s still quite warm. But the hen house and yard end up looking like there’s been a massacre. My chooks can be seen from the back lane if they’re out in the yard, and I often get people asking if they’re ok, are they sick? I don’t think it’s known generally that there’s heirloom breeds, and then Isa Browns, which were bred for battery farming and just lay intensively, non stop, poor things. And yes, life is different when you have livestock, whether a few chickens or a barnyard full, no sitting indoors ignoring the weather.

  6. Here’s to all of you, pj’s and wellies brigade included, who go out to care for the animals before themselves. I’m hoping this new hit by Stormy Gale and the Flying Slates is over soon.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  7. sarahfoto

     /  November 10, 2015

    Our pretty Esme is starting to look like a scabby rat 😀 Most of the others have grown their feathers back finally having shed the green paint they’ve been sporting all summer…

  8. The hard moult is harder for the owner to watch than the hen. 😉 PS, happy to hear I’m not the only poultry owner who wears pjs, boots and a coat to let her girls out in the morning. (Except in snow storms, mind.)

  9. I’ve not blogged for years until today and have loved reading this post and people’s responses to this.
    I have 8 hens and our oldest – Queenie, has just gone through a moult which left her with a bare bottom too. Bless her, but I have to say she is looking more like a Queen today with the new growth that has come through.

    • It’s amazing how quickly their feathers grow back, isn’t it? Tiffany is already looking much better and no bare skin is showing any more… and my word it’s a good job with the wind and rain we’ve been having over the past few days!
      Welcome back to blogging, by the way… I’m just off to visit your site…

      • Thank you, I maybe slow to begin with but I’ve been inspired by so many people here. I’ll see what I can fit in and around work.

        Yes we’ve had the rain too but the winds have been so strong it’s a surprise they haven’t given it a ‘name’! However, the Ladies (hens) have just got on with their normal day to day life though they’re not a fan of torrential downpours.

  1. Of words and wool | The Snail of Happiness

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