Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Naked Chicken

Wisteria is molting. She looks horrible! Her beautiful black necklace fell out and many of her flight and tail feathers dropped. Her chest and shoulders are bare right down to her naked chicken skin. For several days, the hen house looked like there had been pillow fights in there when I went to clean in the morning. Now Wisteria is sprouting new quills which are poking through her skin. It must be uncomfortable.

Molting arrives at a nasty time of year. I'll never understand why it's normal for chickens to molt in the fall of the year. We've had snow for the last two days and poor Wisteria never leaves the coop in her efforts to keep warm. Because growing new feathers requires so much energy, she won't be laying eggs for several weeks.

Molting is a normal process for pure breed and heritage birds like Wisteria, who is of the Wyandotte breed. My hybrid chickens (Rosie the Redstar and Hyacinth the Easter Egger) haven't been as affected by the molt. Rosie lost a patch of chest feathers over the summer, but she never stopped laying eggs. So far, Hyacinth has shown no signs of molting. Of course, the pullets won't molt until next year.

We'll try to keep Wisteria warm and dry for the next few weeks while her feathers fill in. Soon she'll be the glamour girl of the chicken yard once again.

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