Molting, It's Not a Pretty Sight
It is the time of year when my laying hens molt out their old feathers. The hen above, Hannah Abbott, usually is a full feathered poofy Americana, but now she is a shadow of her former self a plucked looking chicken running about half naked. She's not alone, I have some hens that molt decorously, losing some feathers while regrowing new ones so that it's hard to tell except that the new ones have a more vibrant color. And then there are other hens, who seem to wake up one morning shake their feathers right off of their bodies and spend a week or so looking unbelievably pitiful. As a result of the yearly molt, egg production is way down. The hens need to put all of their energy into regrowing new feathers for the winter. It is necessary, it happens annually, but it's never pretty.