Monday, 21 September 2009

Moulting Maude

Mini has moulted in stages. Every so often, little piles of feathers can be found in the garden and coop. She sits hunched up and pale, eating little and generally looking a little poorly. I am especially careful when handling her, as the sharp new quills poking through her tender skin cause her constant discomfort. She bares her condition reasonably well, merely giving the odd bad tempered peck at passing underlings.

Maude, however, has gone into a full moult practically overnight. With every step, she leaves a feathery wake. The others are constantly shaking her stray feathers from their own backs, and the nest boxes are now feather down beds. Such is the amount of feathering on a pekin, that Maude appears to be shrinking before our eyes. Her once beautiful plumage now resembles a moth eaten feather duster. She is not taking it well.

Instead of following Mini's dignified example, she is being a harridan. Any unfortunate hen who crosses her path gets a severe duffing up. She is loudly protesting her discomfort, rubbing her head along the ground and generally burying herself in the dust bath. She refuses to cooperate when I need to lock the flock away, and has to be chased at high speed around the garden. Once caught, she struggles frantically. She is not a happy chicken.

Mabel is beginning to thin out around the cushion, too.

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