Tag Archives: molting

Pincushion chickens

Hurricane’s over.  The three are back to trying to sleep in the tree.  SO stubborn.

It’s cooling off at nights, so it’s good time for the hens to grow their feathers back.  It’s such a relief when they start to refeather, because they go naked for what seems like terribly long, and it looks so uncomfortable I worry, and then one day, they come out in little spikes all over that unroll into feathers.

There was a Silkie, I forget her name- she was a ragged half naked mess from the time she got here.  She never had her feathers sorted out.   Over a year.   She raised two sets of babies and I thought that’s just who she was, that she was going to look like a worn-out dish rag forever.  Then one day, poof, feathers inbound!  And now I can’t pick her out of the lineup.  She looks completely normal.

There’s a Brahma re-feathering, Velvet is no longer naked, phew!, and this is Sidewinder.  She hasn’t been the cringy slinker that she was in the winter- her behaviour has been more confident.  Maybe it was the friendship.  She’s a Grandma now – the Sidekick grew up to be Ghost.  She’s so old and has been defeathered since last summer!  I always find reasons to imagine they won’t ever grow back, then they look renewed out of nowhere.Perchick remains looking painfully cold and naked.  It’s almost sweater weather if she doesn’t pincushion out soon.

Chicken jackets

Now that the weather is cooling off, it’s time to put jackets on my chickens.  No!   That’s a joke.  A few of my hens need jackets because they’re molting or have their feathers damaged from mating.

Chicken aprons (so called because they look like an apron when they’re flat), or saddles (for the rooster to ride) are for protecting their backs while their feathers grow back.

Cheeks has bare raw patches on her shoulders from mating, but what can you do?  She doesn’t have to always  be with that rooster.I made a version with shoulder protectors.  So far so good.  There are much more elegant versions online, but I was going for an express solution. You didn’t care about how they would look?

The one that seems most comfortable in her jacket is this little Silkie.  I made a small one, and it fits her perfect.  She only needs it for her shoulders. For the most part they act like they’re barely aware of it. Least comfortable is Cleopatra. She’s aware of it.  First, she was hiding in the coop, then trying to fix her feathers.  What have you done to me? 

I was mistaken, she doesn’t need shoulder pads, so I will recycle the black fleece jacket, and she should be much happier in that.  I wanted to make her a black one anyway. I have a few more without shoulder pads to put on other birds tomorrow.

Take a look at her now!

The chicken formerly known as Jean Jacket has fully refeathered, and come out of her winter coat.

Now
Before, in her fleece jacket (looking quite wretched)

It’s nice to see they can come back so completely and rapidly.  It seemed like only two weeks to full fletching.  Now she looks like a perfectly normal chicken again.  Good, in fact, with a fresh “pelt”.

Stop following me around!

Winter jacket

Jean jacket hen gets a new fleece jacket today.  I took her jean jacket away a couple of weeks ago, in the rainy time just before they went in the greenhouse, and immediately felt sorry for her, seeing her no-necking with the three feathers on her back standing up, for insulation.  She’s having a hard time regrowing feathers.  Lots of them seem to be broken off.  She’s a low chicken, but I haven’t seen her being mated or beat up on, she’s just in hard shape.  Her feet are in bad shape, her wing feathers are sparse.  She was bad off when she got here, and it hasn’t got much better for her.

Poor thing, those raw wing tops.

Anyway, she must be as comfortable as possible, so she gets a winter jacket.

She seems mildly pleased with it

Then the looky-lous come.

What’ve YOU got?  Hey, Sylvia’s got a new outfit!!
– She does?  I gotta see!  – What, this old thing?
Be honest.  Does this jacket make me look fat?

You see, she looks like she feels pretty good about it.  She got inspected (no pecking), and just hung out on the hay bale for a bit.  Cozier now.

HW says she has to have a crest on it. Like a big C, for … Chicken!!

BTW, the chicken who sits, er, sat, has made a total recovery, stopped dragging her butt, and is now indistinguishable from all the other tail-up chickens.  Yay!