Thursday, August 28, 2008

ms. alfredia sunshine sheds some feathers

ms. alfredia sunshine has started her first molt. she's slowly but surely shedding some of her baby feathers. the evidence floats atop of the hay in the crazy coop. she seems to be feeling pretty good, still allowing me to pick her up to give her chin and neck a scratch. she eats well and drinks water as she should and chatter chatters in the morning like any other day. as a matter of fact she and freckles are presently leading the morning chorus.

ms. alfie is on her way to big girl-hood.
i wonder who's next?

i've pulled the below from the chicken encyclopedia, a fairly good resource for chicken loving folk.

Molting is the shedding and renewal of feathers and occurs about once a year. The order in which the different sections of the bird lose their feathers is fairly defined: head, neck, body, wings and tail. Molting is a difficult time for birds, since it involves hormonal fluctuations and increased energy requirements. Eliminate stress during this time: keep temperature in a narrow range (70-80o F), provide a high quality diet, and each day mist the birds with a fine spray or provide a pan for bathing. It takes about seven weeks for new feathers to complete their growth cycle.

Domesticated chickens bred for high egg production have a definite molting pattern. A natural molt does not normally occur until the end of an extended, intensive laying period. Chickens that have been laying heavily for one year or longer molt easily in the fall since this is the natural molting season. If they finish their intensive year in the spring, they do not molt easily and may wait until the fall.

A chicken loses feathers from various sections of its body in a definite pattern. The order is: head; neck; feather tracks of the breast, thighs and back; wing and tail feathers. Some birds molt more slowly than others; some molt earlier. A good high producing flock tends to molt late and rapidly.

Decreasing day-length is the normal trigger for molting. Therefore, lighting programs for egg production flocks should provide either constant or increasing day-length. Stresses caused by temporary feed or water shortage, disease, cold temperatures, or sudden changes in the lighting program can cause a partial or premature molt.

we are going to keep things natural - no artificial light - no artificial anything
chickens as chickens as chickens can be

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