Poor old chickens. As fast as we pick feathers from the run, so they top up the supply by shedding some more. But we have a few signs of hope. For one thing, the cockerel is beginning to regain his virility. He’s left the hens alone from the start, but yesterday as he emerged from the coop he immediately began to chase senior hen round the feeder. She’s just starting to moult seriously, and his attentions were most unwelcome. She retreated to the safety of the coop, and all three hens only ventured out when they could see that he was busy feeding.
He’s just beginning to regain his tail feathers, so right now he’s not quite as fine a fellow as he thinks:
Poor senior hen is beginning to look threadbare, rather like an overly well-loved soft toy. But as yet she’s nothing lke as naked as junior hen was in the depths of her moult, and indeed her comb and face are still quite a healthy red colour. She’s still first to investigate any new treats, and still gets the majority of the blackberries, but she’s nowhere near as lively as she was a week ago.
Junior hen has perked up beyond all recognition. A week ago she would have moped in a corner. Now she’s monopolising the corn cob – unheard of! She’s still a bit pale faced, and her feathers are by no means fully grown, but she’s definitely on the up.
Middle hen seems to be coming through the moult with fewest problems. She was never as listless as junior hen was and senior hen is becoming, and she maintained her appetite. But it’s obvious that he nice white plumage is developing well.
Maybe she’ll be the first to start laying again. My guess for the next egg is the start of October, which will have given them about 6 weeks off. We’ll see.