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The saddest lil’ chicken in the flock

Oh, god, look at that chicken! She’s fine. I mean she’s bitchier than an imperial crap-load of instant PMS cubes, but that, ladies and gentlemen, is a perfectly natural end-of-season chicken moult.

There’s supposedly a relationship between egg laying and moulting. The better the layer, the faster and more complete the moult. Then a good hen brushes herself off, grows new feathers and gets back to the business of laying eggs.

My girls usually shed a feather or two but otherwise sail through the moult looking okay, but they aren’t exactly cham-peen egg producers. Lucia puts a little more oomph into it, as befits Head Chicken.

Those awesome professional egg-a-day hybrid layers supposedly drop all their feathers in one big go, and you find them next morning clinging to the perch looking like an oven-ready roaster.

Violet didn’t go quite like that, but it was the most spectacular moult I’ve seen. The henhouse was like they’d had a pillow fight in there — feathers EVERYwhere.

And there she was, smoldering in the back of the run, giving me her best stink-eye. I think this process must be pretty uncomfortable, because she’s in an incredibly shitty mood. And she’s not a nice chicken to begin with. We don’t call her Violence for naught.

Anyway — yes, she was easily my best layer this Summer. Here she is in happier times — like, two months ago.

A hard moult is just the price you have to pay to be Miss Awesome Comb 2013.


Comment from QuasiModo
Time: September 23, 2013, 11:26 pm

I’m allergic to chickens 🙂

…just thought I’d put that out there…


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: September 24, 2013, 12:14 am

😉 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVu1zGTs_ro

Comment from Lark
Time: September 24, 2013, 12:51 am

Off-topic: Tim Blair has a picture of a beaded Parisian VW roof ferret.

Comment from Nina
Time: September 24, 2013, 12:55 am

You’d think that moulting right before the cold weather kicks in wouldn’t be very adaptive, wouldn’t you?

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: September 24, 2013, 1:00 am

Holy hell, that looks aggravating. No wonder she’s pissy.

Comment from EZnSF
Time: September 24, 2013, 3:01 am

She’s a shuttlecock.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: September 24, 2013, 4:52 am

Our yard is a snowfall of feathers,grumpy ducks, and a grumpy chicken. The rain has come far to soon as well.

I discovered that the chicken enjoys a tablespoon of muesli everyday.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: September 24, 2013, 4:56 am

Reckon she was raised on rolled cob.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 24, 2013, 10:08 am

I often think that, Nina. We’re having a lovely warm snap, but she started moulting the moment it turned chilly.

I suppose Nature’s plan is to have them making babies until the last plausible moment. Though it’d be a pretty rough deal, being a baby chick in the wild in late September, I’d’ve thought.

Comment from surly ermine
Time: September 24, 2013, 10:35 am

I just watched a documentary on ducks. Seems they molt all their feathers at once too. Leaves them flightless and vulnerable for awhile so they have to hide out.

Comment from Steve In Tulsa
Time: September 24, 2013, 11:36 am

I have Parrots and when they moult I have to give them baths. I have a horse sprayer I set to a wide mist, corner them in their cages, and spray until they are soaking. THey hate it but by the time they dry off they feel so much better they forgive me.

Comment from MikeW
Time: September 24, 2013, 12:22 pm

The song of canaries
Never varies
And when they’re molting
They’re revolting
— Ogden Nash, “The Canary”, The Face Is Familiar

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 24, 2013, 2:34 pm

Don’t know why the spam filter clipped that, Steve. Maybe Akimset is a parrot.

Comment from Deborah
Time: September 24, 2013, 5:23 pm

Instant PMS Cubes. It’s a little late for me to steal this line but I’m passing it along to some of my younger friends.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: September 24, 2013, 7:00 pm

I don’t recall our geese moulting all at once, but they dropped all of their primary flight feathers once a year. They’re pretty nervous for a couple of weeks.

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