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!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chickens Mid-molt

Several people have inquired, so here is a quick update on my molting hens. The girls are doing okay, or at least they're not completely miserable. It is normal for them to molt at this time of year. It doesn't make much sense to me, as the nights are quite cold and I wish they were all fully feathered, but this is considered normal. Egg production began tapering off quickly in October. I haven't retrieved an egg since November 3. The same three hens that formerly gave 15-20 eggs per week are now on hiatus while their feathers grow in. It takes all their energy to accomplish this. In the photo above, you can see tiny quills poking through Crocus's head and neck. They resemble white needles against her darker feathers.

Daisy's tail feathers are growing in now and I think she is approaching the end of her molt. Each hen begins and ends the molt at her own pace. Squill, who preferred to not be photographed today, still has bare skin patches on her neck and shoulders.

Meanwhile, we've winterized the coop by covering it with sheet plastic and plexiglass. The girls have plenty of space to stay out of the wind and precipitation, yet they have the freedom to wander outside when it's sunny and warm. They have open water in their heated water dish, and we've increased their protein intake with sunflower seeds as treats.

We're hoping for eggs again after the holidays. Meanwhile, we try to keep the girls clean, dry and well-fed. This is Mother Nature's way of giving the hens a vacation from many months of hard work. And this year I gave them holiday lights on their fence to keep them cheerful.

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