January 8, 2011

Half-Nekkid Chicken

We are experiencing our first chicken molt, and it is not a pretty sight.


Cayenne and Ginger are losing very minimal amounts of feathers, but Nutmeg....oh my!
There are feathers everywhere...at the back door, on the patio, in the coop....everywhere except on Nutmeg's body!  The first time I stepped outside and saw feathers and no chickens, my heart sank, thinking a critter (or dog) had gotten them.  Then the mystery began to unfold.

 

It's a good thing I knew about molting, because I would have been horrified by Nutmeg's appearance had I not known the cause.


I must admit, though, the porcupine quill look is still a bit disturbing.  I can only imagine how she must feel.

Even her normally fluffy butt has diminished in size.  If hens have self esteem, I would bet Nutmeg's is at an all-time low right now.


Poor girl.  Good thing we have a heat lamp in the coop to take the chill off her half-nekkid body! 

12 comments:

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Aw, your Nutmeg and my Cowgirl should form their own "half-nekkid" club. We could have little fleece t-shirts made up for them...this would serve the added purpose, too, of adding some warmth to their poor featherless bodies! lol

Razzberry Corner said...

And I have Lucy and Ethel now who are half nekkid and need to be added to that club!

Neal said...

Chicken or turkey on that last photo?

Lilla said...

Hey Danni...you've got a great idea there. Chicken t-shirts...I love it! I actually saw a post on Backyard Chickens where someone put a sock on their petite chicken who was molting!

Razz...Lucy and Ethel are welcomed to join the club. I'll send their membership cards right away!

Neal...a turken, perhaps?

cousin Arnetta said...

Nutmeg sure has pretty markings... you can see the pattern better w/o so many feathers :-)

I know there must be a biological reason that they molt this time of the year, but it seems like mother nature wouldn't pick such a cold time for their nakedness...

Lilla said...

Arnetta, I had read where chickens usually molt in warmer weather so they have time to grow new feathers before the cold sets in...however, that is apparently NOT the case for all chickens!

Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Poor thing! My Little Lizzie is the last of my girls to molt this year. Not sure where I heard this, but protein is supposed to help them through the molt quicker. I gave my girls a handful of high-quality cat food everyday with their scratch grain. Seemed to be a real treat!
Just an idea.
Staci

morningbrayfarm said...

You have the most beautiful chickens Lilla!

I agree with Arnetta - how odd that chickens pick this time to molt!

Lilla said...

Staci, I heard the same thing somewhere. They have been getting sunflower seeds, scrambled eggs and the occasional cat food. Guess we just have to wait for the molt to run its course.

Justina, thanks! Yeah, I don't understand the way Mother Nature works sometimes...

jasperlilith said...

poor chickies!

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

lovely blog
give her some protein
very occassional cat food helps a moulting hen
believe me!

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

Oh dear. Poor Nutmeg! I have a few that are at the tail end of their molt - finally. I don't think any of mine have ever molted during warm weather. We go into winter with half nekkid chickens all over this yard. It makes me shiver just to look at them on cold days. I hope Nutmeg is feathering out now. Brrrrrrrr. Your chickens are just gorgeous, Lilla.