Tuesday, August 6, 2013

what a mess

Earlier we adopted a flock of laying hens from a family headed out for a couple weeks vacation. The girls had stopped laying and the family had no one to care for them while they were out of town, so our livestock trailer was filled up and about 60 chickens found their here. 

They are a breed we don't usually have on the farm: the red sex link, a standard production bird. They are not really red, and to my eyes they always look messy, with ends of their feathers pale in color and a just overall plain look. 

Now the flock is in one of our mobile pens. We kept them together and separate from our other flocks. And today the number of feathers surrounding and inside the pen indicate that a molt is starting. This means feather loss will be significant and egg production will decrease as they grow new feathers for winter. 

We have 8 pens of laying hens. The rest of the birds are named breeds who molt differently: it is not dramatic with a defined feather bed effect but a lighter loss of feathers. 

A molt is usually a response to lower amounts of sunlight. It signals the birds to get ready for winter, to put on their winter coats for the cool weather ahead. 

I'm not ready for winter myself. Not a big fan of being cold myself. 

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