Raising chickens, especially urban chickens, has some built-in exciting days.
Sometime, on or around your hen’s first birthday, you may come out to your backyard coop one morning and realize that your chickens have exploded in the night.
Because there’s so many feathers in the pen, it must be the only explanation.
But then you’ll count your hens, and they will all be present.
But seriously, the feathers are everywhere.
And the hens look fine.
Well, maybe not fine.
Summer chickens are fugly chickens.
Half naked, sometimes sunburned, often raggity scraggity … unlovely. And this is normal…
Plus, your ugliest hen might be your best layer... see my post at www.TheFreeRooster.com about this issue… it’s an important part of How To Raise Chickens…
The good news, other than the fact that one or more of your backyard chickens has not actually exploded, is that this is the annual molt, and from here, the chickens will begin to feather up, and they’ll do it in time for cold weather – even if it seems that they won’t.
The not-so-bad news is that this molt signals the end of one-egg-a-day from your hens, as they move into the egg-every-other-day-or-so maturity. Each molt from here on in will signal another drop in egg production, but the eggs they lay will be bigger. There’s more about egg production and egg handling in my book, Just A Couple Of Chickens, available here and on Amazon.com
You have to see it to believe it. I can tell you that the feathers will be everywhere, but words do not suffice. The first time I saw the molt I simply couldn’t believe that I wasn’t missing a hen. It’s a fun milestone in raising backyard chickens.
Coming soon to a coop near you…(boom!)