Monday, December 6, 2010

Backyard chickens, moulting chickens , molting chickens, chicks ,naked girls, nekked girls

My poor girls!  They are moulting (or molting if you prefer... both spellings are acceptable seems) and its the saddest looking thing in the chicken world. Photos below. They are all moulting, but one of the reds has gone into a hard moult.  My back yard is covered with feathers especially in front of the studio door cuz that's where they hang out waiting for me to emerge from my mystery cave... (its a mystery to them cuz they are...well...chickens).  They are now on a diet in which I have added high protein  cat food (recommended by other chicken owners and how- to sites)  because feathers are mostly protein and to grow back good ones they need lots of it. Don't worry I checked the label and don't use the stuff with chicken meal.  Not because I have an aversion to cannibalism , cuz I don't. But because I eat their eggs and I don't want to get some weird genetic mutation disease like mad cow.  Anyway, they have stopped laying completely to take their annual winter rest. I did some research to make sure they are getting proper care. The WA.Gov site said the better the layer, the harder they moult. So that's new info for me.  This is the third  seasonal moult that the reds will have gone through which means they have had a 30% reduction in laying since we got them.  It sadly means they will be rotated out this spring and new ones added.  RIR's , at their peak, lay about 230 eggs a year. Every year that drops off 10%..  I usually pay the $20 for laying pullets but I think this year I will get chicks..... Just because I want to play with them.Here's some photos of nekked girls. 

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