Why chickens moult as soon as the mercury drops past 5 degrees C beats me. It seems that they have to put up with being bald at the most inconvenient time of the year – being the coldest. At just the same time that we’re reaching for a cover of feathers for ourselves and bringing out the duvet and electric blanket, our poor chooks are loosing their in-built thermo-control at a rate of knots!
It seems that every time I look at Millie she shakes herself and drops another bundle of feathers around the yard. The coop resembles a battlefield for the unsuspecting eye. Instead of raking out the poo from the coop for the compost, all I seem to be doing is collecting duvet filling.
My poor girl is looking quite ridiculous this year and has totally lost her tail feathers leaving her rather stout and stocky. A totally bald spot on the middle of her back really made her look like she was ready for the stewing pot. I’m sure I even saw her at one point trying to manage a “comb-over” that didn’t quite work.
For the one who normally takes her place at the top of the pecking order, bossing around 4 other chooks in the flock, she is remaining rather aloof from the rest of the pack. I wonder if they take to bullying tactics like cruel school kids in the playground who tease the geeky kid with a bad haircut? Perhaps that’s why Millie is keeping her distance. Maybe she’s afraid that all her former bullying will come back in the form of teasing or snickering behind her back. (Have you ever heard a chicken snicker?)
Anyway, luckily we have some younger and more robust chickens to keep up the egg production because the two old birds are totally out of action for a while now. The winter solstice on 22nd June (shortest day of the year) should bring about the required change but until then I’ll be rationing the scrambled eggs for breakfast.
book, book, book!!