The girls have been moulting for less than two weeks yet it seems much longer. I have got used to picking up loads of feathers from the coop each morning but it is now slowing down. The bantys started two days later than the dominiques and now there are only banty feathers in the coop in the mornings so I think it is coming to it’s end.
It is my first experience of moulting so I had no idea what to expect. Having seen photos on other blogs of girls in moult I feel I have got off lightly. I have seen photos of girls with no tails and in various states of undress. Some are almost oven ready and some have lot’s of bare patches and look quite scary in their intermediate states.
Maybe it’s partly because I have had a summer of bare patches on bottoms and necks and in Dotty’s case head (due to the feather plucking problem), it doesn’t seem so bad. My girls have just looked a bit ragged and shabby through the moult but have at the same time regained feathers they didn’t have so it’s actually seemed like an improvement to me.
The other thing I have noticed is that their combs are lovely and red and I get two eggs from the three big girls most days (I don’t count the little girls who were never good at egg laying and now go three weeks between eggs, which is fine by me), so I feel they are coping fine with this and I feel quite blessed.
Since the bantys started laying in May, I have had only two five egg days, but I have also in that time, had only one no egg day. I think that’s pretty amazing! Go girls!
I have read about girls struggling with the moult but it seems to be the more elderly hens and I am pleased that mine seem to be breezing through with no signs of stress at all. I thought I would take some photos of the girls today to illustrate this but they were not cooperating. I had many photos of backs of heads, bottoms or just blurred images, not to mention one totally alien shot of Bluebell shaking her head and looking like something from a horror film!
The following photos are the best I managed to get. Film stars these girls are not unless you count the afore mention horror film!
Dotty’s comb and wattles are bright red, more so than the photos shows (fading rainy day light) and she has feathers on her head after being bald all summer, hurrah! Please may she keep them. My odd looking Dotty is finding some beauty to match her sweet nature after being the sweet ugly duckling all summer long.
Bluebell has always had a bright red floppy comb and seems unaffected by any moulting process. I have picked up only the odd feather from her and she only has a few slightly ragged tail feathers. She also continues to lay her eggs most days.
Pepper has the most shabby tail feathers but no bald patches and her comb and wattles are quite different from Dotty’s (as they always have been) but remain a good colour.
Bluebell’s comb from the other side. A floppy comb is different from each side so I always to try get a shot from each side.
Pepper has always been the most tricky to photograph and this was the only face on shot I could get.
Here is my dear Dotty again, just how great is it to see head feathers! Sorry to go on but I have felt so sorry for my ugly duckling all summer. She is also the most attached to me, jumping on me at every chance she gets, which is quite endearing and she always has comedy feet! Look how long her middle toes are.
The little girls do look quite scruffy but they did have completely bare heads and now it’s patchy so although scruffy it is also an improvement.
I am really pleased with how these girls are progressing through their first moult and they continue to entertain me and fill my heart with love for them and that’s not even to mention their lovely eggs. I haven’t bought a single egg since they started laying even with the winter slow down. They still lay as many eggs as we can eat and occasionally still a few to give to our neighbours.
Just got to love these girls!