Feathering-up

It doesn’t matter how many times I see it, I am always captivated by the growth of new feathers after one of the hens has moulted.

Because of the way we keep our chickens, we are happy to let them express natural behaviour (digging, dust-bathing, rooting about in leaf litter, going off-lay for a while etc) and still remain with us. Yes, we keep our old, non-layers, but then we consider that they do a range of jobs for us, not just egg production.

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Anna (left) moulted earlier in the summer, whilst Tiffany (right) is right in the middle of it now

Tiffany stopped laying two or three weeks ago, lost huge numbers of feathers, and is now well on the way to having a lovely new set on her back, neck and wings, plus an entirely new tail. We collect the feathers where possible and they go on the compost heap. Hopefully she will start laying again in a few weeks, but if not, we’re getting an egg each every day from Mags and Aliss, our new girls.

Aliss and Mags - fully feathered and laying well at the moment

Aliss and Mags – fully feathered and laying well at the moment

I am a very happy chicken-keeper right now.

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5 Comments

  1. I think getting rid of your chickens because they are not laying is a bit like getting rid of your kids because they’ve stopped being cute…………. Aren’t those new feathers beautiful!

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    • So true, they are with us for life. I love seeing the way the feathers first appear like bristles and then take on the look of a porcupine before transforming into real feathers. I always avoid handling them during the process as I suspect they must be quite sensitive.

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  2. I’ve always wondered if the re-fledging was itchy, or whether it was like hair growth, and not noticeable.

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    • I’m not sure… they don’t seem to pay much attention to it, but I wonder whether that’s because their skin is sensitive or because they don’t really feel it. Either way, it must be fairly draughty!

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  3. Don’t you just love watching nature do its thing? It’s so miraculous. I like that you keep your chickens. They are beautiful.

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