Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Crazy Ugly Momma

Remember Inky and how she finally had a late season hatch? Well, look at her now....

...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?


Anonymous said...

I have to insulate more pens in the corn crib for baby goats in March! Last time, we had them in late January and early February and they had to stay in the basement it was still so cold! Ah, the joys of living in Wisconsin. I hate egg stealing chickens! It's like... cannibalism! In it's own weird way.Good luck planting oats and I hope that they work out.


Carolyn said...

My, that's one UG-ly chicken! :)
Just kidding. Keepers of chickens just have to live with the fact that their beautiful, fluffy, feathered biddies will look like, well, like you said; a lawnmower ran 'em over!

We don't supplement lighting now either, but like you, when the days start getting longer in several months, we'll start. And it helps that we also had a late batch of chicks so we may have eggs late this winter even if the older one's are still moulting.

Robin said...

Those poor girls look like heck! I've been cleaning up the home garden, planting garlic, doing some repairs & maintenance to the cold frame beds and injuring myself!

I am so loving this sunny weather!

Mr. H. said...

Our birds are looking a little rough too. That moma bird of yours looks like she is in a hurry to get somewhere...maybe the kids are giving her a hard time.:)

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

I guess molting is the ugly part of the chickens life..they don't look so pretty :o( maybe the harmone change makes them go through a stage :o)..
Farm life really keeping you busy, but with a good sense of humor :o) ..Today we are taking it easy,the laundry is calling, but..Cecil is celebrating another Birthday, so we may go out to dinner :o)

drypond said...

My poor girls are looking like that too. I fill so sorry for them, I keep thinking how can they stay warm without their feathers. But some how they do just fine. Hope our girls get their feathers back very soon.

Samantha said...

Poor ladies! Molting birds, any molting birds, look horrid!

Reading through your last few posts and I had to laugh. I'm all about ripping up the last few garden plants.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

They Tayet - can you believe we'll be in full on winter soon!?! Great work getting the winter prep done for the goaties.

Carolyn - that IS one ugly chicken! My poor girls - they just look so awful. This morning I found a pile of feathers and a mostly naked chicken. Sheesh!

Easy there, Robin - gardening is a dangerous sport for sure! I'll pop over in a bit to see your work on the cold frames. I need to do a hoop house this time for sure.

Ha! Mr. H, I love her jaunty walk..we think her babies are all roosters and they are already a handful!

Happy Birthday Cecil! Have a great time at dinner, Ginny, and give that ol' rascal a special birthday hug from all of us here.

Our's should be feathered in, Charlotte, before the cold weather comes on. But if it lasts much longer we'll put a heat lamp on for them. They can also snuggle together to keep warm.

Hey Samantha! Great to see you - I'm getting all the 'outside' work done that I can - and just loving every second of it.

Chai Chai said...

Some of you chickens are selected for a pot of noodles while mine get to eat a pot of noodles....maybe I'm doing something wrong here?

David P. Offutt - The Gastronomic Gardener said...

AGreeing about the outside work.. working on the new gig at night. hope for the big reveal the week of Oct 17

charlotte's menagerie said...

Yes, I guess all the hens in North America are molting. My Plymouth Barred Rock is 2 1/2 years old and she has laid everyday, but now she is laying every other day. One young hen just laid her first egg today, so that makes up for the ones taking a break.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...