My hens have been molting.
For several weeks to be exact.
Feathers have fallen like snow in December.
Before the Great Molt of ’16 began, the coop needed cleaning out. But I soon realized that it would be futile to do it until the storm was over.
So I waited.
I was beginning to feel like a really BAD chicken keeper. I don’t like my hens to live in squalor. But I also don’t like to do a serious coop clean twice. So I waited some more.
Finally things turned a corner and the feathers stopped dropping. Lydia was particularly hard hit this fall. I did not take any photos of her in her disgrace, but believe me, she was as close to naked as I have ever seen a hen. It was pathetic.
Anyway, I have just spent 2 1/2 hours working in the yard and coop. ALL the old straw was taken out and I even borrowed my dad’s leaf blower to really get the dust and cobwebs out of the nooks and crannies. I raked the yard, dug up a place in the shelter so they can take dust baths there this winter, and brought up a wagon load of new straw.
All the noise and activity made the poor dears quite nervous and when they finally COULD get back into the coop, they huddled for a bit to talk things over…
But they do love new straw because there are a few stray oats to be found for the diligent hen.
I always like it when the poop board has been completely cleared off and new stall dry applied.
I had to put some pieces of firewood in that one spot to keep Jill from roosting there and making a mess on the coop wall. Very annoying of her. I’m sure there will be a bit of kerfuffle tonight when they go to bed, as Jill will have to actually get up on the roost. Chickens don’t like change.
I will sleep better at night knowing my girls are comfortable, clean, and dry.
Lydia, though not fully feathered out yet, is decently clothed. I’m still in love with her tail feathers… such a pretty pale gray.
Right now the rest of her looks like billowing thunderclouds…
There was never a more benevolent head hen. She rules with a calm authority that never really requires putting anyone in their place. There’s something to be said for a very good Queen whose subjects love and respect her.
Long may she reign.