Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chickens need a break too!!

This year I experienced an unexpected phenomenon with my Chickens; their feathers fell out and and they stopped laying eggs. This went on for a approx 2-3 months. I didn't know what was going on. It was apparent they were going through the molt. Egg production stopped a few weeks before the molt, I suspect they were getting ready. So what was actually going on inside Ezelle and Esther? After doing some research I found out that although chickens molt every year which is the process of replacing damaged feathers, they go through a complete molt approx every two years. This would explain the almost baldness of my girls running around. While the complete molt is taking place there body uses all the protein it can get into growing feathers instead of producing eggs. I was concerned because I thought the gals were done with egg production forever and that raised a huge issue me because im an extreme carnivore. But even though the thought of preparing the gals for dinner crossed my mine, I couldn't do it because they are my gals; so I am a big Sap after all. Esther and Ezelle for chickens as all chickens do are amazing creatures, able to produce eggs everyday, that is alot of work for their bodies. During the molt their systems repair themselves, getting ready for another two years of production. So one day when I came home I saw two freshly layed eggs in the nest. That brought a smile to my face, but there is one thing that is evident and that is Ezelle and Esther are family now and even if they stop producing which they will one day, they will never end up on a dinner plate. Damn, I can't believe I said that:)


Sue said...

Aw, ya big softie!
Glad the girls were just taking a "vacation". I know when we kept hens how badly we missed those eggs when they stopped. Way too hard to go back to store bought. There just is no comparison!

ATW said...

Sue- I agree... no more store bought. When I visited my parents, I took a step back and realized that I was about to eat a store bought egg. There was nothing wrong with it. But it's just the thought. And see my wife knew exactly what she was doing when she wanted to name the gals. Thats her stratedgy to name everything. So I wont eat it. Oh well:)

Robin said...

Yep, once they have a name it becomes hard to eat them! We joke that someday we will own the old lady hen retirement home.

I never understood though why hens will molt just when the weather is getting really cold. When ours molted, it was awful to see them so naked on the really chilly mornings!