Molting creeps up on one.
You’ll notice a few distinctive feathers on the floor of the coop, and then you’ll notice that a particular chicken is looking a bit ratty, then…BAM. Said chicken will turn around, and you’ll be all “what…the hell…happened…to YOU??!!”
The converse is true. as well, it seems. A molting hen will look horrible, and then still horrible, still horrible, then…BAM. Gorgeous. I was dispensing treats this morning when I did an actual double take, just like in the movies. Haley??!! Is that YOU??!!
Check her out! Stunning, glossy, soft new feathers, a shiny copper coat, like next year’s penny. She has a way to go, of course; the new tail feathers are still making their way out from a volcano-like indentation in her butt feathers. Lookin’ good, girl! (Hermione’s jealous. Also…embarrassed.)
But, let’s get back to that first chicken, the one who fell apart overnight. As I was pointing out the kitchen window at Haley, showing The Man how great she looks all of a sudden, my eye fell on Tallulah as she turned around, and…BAM. Damn girl, what happened?!
I find it deeply unsettling to see my hens look like…well, meat. I felt that way when Buffy was attacked, when she and Abby plucked their bellies bare in a brooding frenzy, and I felt it looking at Tallulah today. Many new pins are emerging, but…it’s still nausea-inducing for this long-time non-meat-eater.
My hens are hard to catch when they’re molting. When hens aren’t laying, they have no need (nor tolerance) for their rooster. There’s no squatting, and they tend to run the other way if they see me get to within arm’s reach. I managed to catch Tallulah today at treat time, because I just had to get a closer look at her progress.
Holy bare butt, Batman!! I was not prepared for that. (Abby says, “daaaayum…”):
I flipped her over to have a look at her feet while I had her, and they are not good. I brought her into the house for closer inspection. They’re not quite as bad as Coraline’s were, but, still worse than I would hope, give the recent course of antibiotics.
I had Stepdaughter the Elder hold Tallulah in her lap while I inspected her feet. I will be keeping my eye on her; surgery may be called for.
I just had to grab a few of pics for you while I had her prisoner. It actually looks much worse when the feathers are parted out of the way, believe it or not, but these should give you an idea. (I do apologise, gentle reader, for the, erm…intimate nature of the first two pics. The second one, to my eye, seems downright gynecological…):
There you have it: The State of the Molt. The Great Chicken taketh away, and The Great Chicken giveth…