Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rainy Thursday, Molting Chickens

I've been out of town for the past 3 weeks, but returned late last night.  It's nice to be back home again.

I was in southern GA, where the temperatures were in the 90's every day.  Hot and humid and sunny every day.  Back home in MD the temperatures started getting cooler, leaves started falling.  The days started getting shorter, autumn arrived.  And then while I was gone the chickens started molting for the first time.

Wet Guinea Fowl
Short day lengths serve as a signal to birds to renew plumage in preparation for the coming cold weather.  Chickens lose and replace their feathers yearly during late summer or early fall.  The first thing telling us of the molting season was feathers on the ground in early September.  Then, while I was in GA, I was told my favorite rooster, Leggy, only had 2 tail feathers left.  No chicken appeared to go totally bald, although there were so many feathers on the ground in the chicken pen.

Leggy with 2 tail feathers
Now that I am home, it's seriously raining here in MD and the chickens are all wet, so I cannot get any good molting pictures.  I didn't want to soak my camera, so I only took a few pictures before securing the camera.  The young chickens which were still teenagers when I left have grown up and now are full size birds.  The very small chicks are now teenagers.  And the Guinea fowl are all adult size now.  I have lots to post about the Guinea adventures, but will save that for future posts! 
Raspberry and a Guinea leave the coop



CeeCee said...

Welcome back! Molting chickens and the chicken run always give me pause. It looks like some silly cartoon in my run right now---like a chicken blew up. The poor hens look so forlorn. I know they are aware that half their feathers are missing.
I hope the rain breaks and you can get outside and enjoy the fall weather.

Farm Girl said...

So glad you are back. I wondered where you had been, I just thought life caught up. You know how it does that? Yes, yesterday I went to get eggs and I was shocked at my little hen house, it looked like I love a couple of hens in there, feathers everywhere. I told them I was so sorry their house was so dirty I would be getting to it. My daughter always called it "Explosion Molting."
It is still a shock when you see all of your hens running around "neck-id". :)
Enjoy the rain, I wish we were having rain, but the weatherman says we will have a dry winter due to La Nina conditions. Drat.
I am glad you are home.

AJ-OAKS said...

Glad to see you again!! Missed ya'. It took me awhile to figure out why my chickens were losing their featheres then the light bulb came on. Duh, molting! :)
I wish it were raining here. It has been in the 90's here and well, I don't like it one little bit! Not one little bit. Okay, that was my whine for the day.
Looking forward to seeing you more often.

Razzberry Corner said...

CeeCee- We didn't know what was happening when it looked like a chicken blew up in the yard. We never had a molt before, this is our first autumn with chickens. Now we know!

Kim - Yes, explosion molting is a good name for it. It seemed to have started overnight! You can have some of my rain, I'm getting alot today. It's been raining all night last night and all day today.

Cindy - Thanks, I'm happy to be blogging again! And if I could, I'd share my rain with you! I'll be over to your blog to visit shortly, I'm slowing getting caught up with my online friends!


Verde Farm said...

So glad you are back, I've been wondering where you were :) I am having the same feather explosion here. We also have 20 ducks molting and this place is one big feather. Poor chickens --I am sure they will dry up soon. Welcome back :)
Amy ~:>

Knatolee said...

Some of my girls are going through their first moult and they look like hell!:)

I am behind on my blog reading, how annoying. I've missed your blog!

Robin said...

Aw the sad looking half naked chickens. They look so pitiful when they are molting. A bunch of ours are missing tails and have bald spots here and there.