...she's one crazy, ugly momma for sure!
Poor Inky is molting - like a lot of my hens right now. Most of them look like they've been run over by a lawn mower! The worst is my beautiful Raspberry... my little Cochin hen.
She looks like a feather duster that someone shook really hard. My beautiful french hen!
A while ago I was complaining to an old timer about some hens that were molting but he chided me and said to let them be - and that they need a break. So we aren't going to take any measures to try and stop any of it. We won't be keeping a light on in the hen house or changing their food. Most folks don't like the lack of eggs when their layers go to molt. But we'll make do.
Right now its getting dark about 7:30pm which really isn't enough daylight for full egg production. So if your ladies aren't laying like they should be - its just the change of season. But when the ladies start getting their feathers back and we get closer to loosing daylight savings we'll make sure we have eggs all winter by giving them more layer mash and leaving a light on for them.
We have two main coops - one for the layers and one for younger ones. The Mob is in there now along with the rest of this summer's chicks. In the next couple of weeks we are going to sort out some of the layers and the younger roosters for Their Special Day when they go to glory in a pot of noodles.
Most of the "keep" layers are indicated by a bracelet that means they've had a successful hatch and earned themselves a pass. But there are a few older hen who need to go. They are the unnamed rabble who either aren't great layers or who aren't broody....or are eating eggs. By next spring we'll be back up to full laying speed with the new chicks coming into their productive laying season.
In the meantime, we're working hard at getting the garden cleaned up. I took down a little patch of corn and gave it to the pigz. I'll be tilling again today - and then planting oats later on. I'm trying oats as a cover crop this year. Normally we go for winter wheat - but with our ridiculously wet spring it didnt work out so well. I couldnt get enough dry days to get it cut off and tilled under to plant the garden.
Oats will winter kill so my plan is to get them planted and hope they will grow at least a foot or so tall (if they set heads that would be even better!). Then the cold weather will kill them, they will flop over and form a kind of mulch to keep the weeds out and the soil in place. Next spring I'll be able to scrap off the gardens and have access to all that friable soil just waiting for seeds.
That's the plan anyway. Have a great Friday everyone! Whatcha workin' on today?