Dolley’s moulting! Look at this scraggly girl. For those of you who aren’t chicken owners–and why not, may I ask?–hens go through a moult in the winter where they lose their feathers in patches and grow them back. Here you can see quills coming back in to cover a bare patch on her breast. I sure wish they wouldn’t lose all their feathers just as the cold weather sets in, but that’s nature’s design. It takes protein to grow feathers, so they take a break from egg-laying in the winter to get this job done. She’s the first one to really start moulting–the others are just losing a feather here and there.
It’s hard to get her to sit still for photos, and she doesn’t like us to pull her feathers back and explose that bare chicken skin to the wind, but we managed to get a couple of shots. She’s actually lost quite a bit more on her back than you can see here, and the quills look so creepy when they grow in–they’re a grey-blue color and they make her look like a porcupine, or a pincushion. Poor girl!