Talk About Ruffled Feathers

      Fall is in the air here on the homestead, with the cooler nights and mornings comes the time to turn on the pellet stove in the evening to warm up the house a bit for the overnight and mornings.  

     Next week hunting season begins and  we embark on our week of hunting and more fun times camping 🙂

     This time of year, when the weather starts to turn cooler, leaves start to change and it’s time for the molt with chickens and ducks as well.  Typically chickens begin their first molt around the age of 18 months of age.  This is when old feathers are shed and new ones come in and usually they’ll begin their colder months sporting the latest in new chicken outerwear fashion 😊

     Your run, coop and yard will take on the pillow fight look, I usually try to rake out the feathers from their run every couple of days just so it looks cleaner.  You’ll notice both the hens and roosters start to look quite funny with balding necks, backs and some a little on their heads.  Most of our girls have missing feathers on their backs but the ones with somewhat naked necks just look so funny. Ricky has lost his nice draping over tail, but it will come back.  I do notice some of the breeds molt a bit different.  My Light Brahma ladies seem to be molting more along their sides, while Roxanne my Barred Rock looks so much like a turkey buzzard…oh my Miss Roxanne.  It’s during this time that your flock will almost seem a little “embarrassed” by their appearance, I just keep telling them how pretty they are and they seem to be content with that!

     It’s during this molt that egg production generally will cease for approximately 4-6 weeks, however, I will have to admit that I’m still getting eggs from my ladies, and I know that since I only have eleven younger girls who won’t molt this year….some of my older gals must be happily laying because my egg gatherings are filling my basket with plenty of eggs every day!!  Molting is a little tough on chickens and nutrition plays a huge role in this process.  A high quality feed is important along with other additives to boost their protein in their diet. Mealworms are a great source of added protein along with letting them enjoy leftovers from the summer garden.

     I’ve used a number of feeds, but I’ve been using one that to me is far superior to anything I’ve used prior.  After purchasing a bag of PenPals layer feed, I noticed that since it’s higher quality they were consuming a little less than other brands.  Those who purchase our eggs have always raved about them, however, lately I’ve been getting even more and better compliments and I have to say that the girls are producing very nicely.  Even my young ladies who just began laying this summer are producing regularly and large hard shell, deep yellow yolk eggs! I’m extremely happy with this feed and now purchase it in much larger quantity.  Prior I would purchase a bag or two of other brands to see how the flock does with it.  I also use this for their fermented feed as well and they…well….really eat it up!!

      PenPals feed is also given to our ducks and they too are enjoying it, eating a little less and producing wonderful “dinosaur” eggs….even double yolkers!

     For added calcium, I add crushed egg shells from the chickens and ducks to their “chicken mush”.

     As always…keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you’re up to!  If you enjoyed this post, please follow, share with others who you think would enjoy or benefit from it and sign up so you don’t miss a thing and also for my weekly newsletter. Have an Outstanding Day!

  ~Cindy~

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My little beauty Miranda is not old enough to molt, she’s one of my spring babies…lays beautiful eggs and was a random chicken in the feed store. She’s known as a “Colorpack” and I think with her crazy hair- do and pretty colors she’s gorgeous!

 

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