Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ghosts, Goblins, and Naked Neck Chickens

It's November 1st and we're full on into what I'll call "winter production." By "winter production" I mean one egg a day. It looks like we only have one of four eligible hens laying (number five is still a pullet and too young to be laying yet). Erickson's pulling her weight by laying an egg a day, but that's only because she molted quite a bit after hatching eggs in July, so she isn't using all of her energy right now growing new feathers. Not to mention, we're a few days away from clocks falling back an hour and we're having such short days. Shorter daylight, fewer eggs. Oh, well. That's chicken keeping for you. 

They're in serious molt mode right now too. One of our chickens, Ocho, is looking like a Naked Neck. If you haven't seen these scary chickens, please do a quick Google search. They freak me out. She has almost no neck feathers right now. She looks like we've prepared her to be culled or something. It's pretty sad looking. Then there's Pouncey who likes like she has a mean case of the mange. She's a hot mess. This picture is from two weeks ago, so you can imagine what she looks like now. She's usually much more robust and fluffy.

Besides the diminishing eggs supply, now is also a bummer of a time to be a chicken keeper because it is freaking cold outside at night. When the temp drops we start closing the door to the actual coop at night to try help keep the chickens a little warmer. I know what you're thinking. Chickens have been living outside for a thousand years. They won't freeze to death when it's not even below freezing. You are a crazy woman. I'm well aware. But they're my chickies and I can't help myself. They're spoiled babies. If my two years of chicken keeping have taught me anything, it's that a happy chicken is normally a more productive chicken, so I try to keep them happy. Even when they aren't all laying me delicious eggs. I've been cursing them a little bit while walking out to the coop in the dark at 6:15 am, but I still love them. They'll make it up to me later.

They're currently all nestled together in a pack on top of the nesting boxes. All six of them. Not a single chicken is on the roost. I wouldn't be on the roost either if I was molting and my ass was naked. Can you imagine the draft? 

Happy Halloween, everyone! 
Love, my pumpkin-devouring mangy chickens.