As you can see the girls are going through a really hard molt this year. Shown here left to right are Tootie, Old Bitty (yellow), Girl, Big Momma and Bevin. They're on the southwest bank behind our house one of their favorite places. The sun shines on the bank and they love to stretch out. Big Momma seems to be going through one of the hardest molts. Every winter she burns her tail feathers on one of the heat lamps I keep in the roosting coop. There was a hard frost this morning and it was mighty chilly this morning, so I turned on a few of the heat lamps. This year I will try something different (at least for night time). I'm going to try some of the ceramic heat bulbs that Doctors Foster and Smith sell for use in Reptile tanks and the black blubs. I think this will decrease any picking and arguing amongst the girls when they have to be pinned up during the bad winter. The last winters I have just kept my infrared heat lamps on 24-7. This is too hard on the girls I think. They weren't getting any sleep and getting cranky with each other. Tho, I was getting plenty of eggs!
This morning I went out to let the girls out into the backyard about 11:30 AM to free range. As I was walking back in to eat my late breakfast, I noticed blood all over Ole' Meanies left side. Immediately, I herded her into our big chicken tractor. Eric stopped getting his plate ready and grabbed a pail and filled it with soapy very warn water. Quickly, I took off my coat, shoes and warm woolen socks. Then I jumped into the bath tub with Ole' Meanie in tow. Gently, with a wash cloth a washed all the blood off her leg and wing. Eric then held her while I looked for any wounds. Turns out what had caused all the blood was while molting she had a primary feather that was loose, turned around, but it wasn't ready to fall out. That feather must've gotten caught on something and got yanked out. I'm sure the other hens were picking at her. After we realized what had caused it we used the hair dryer to dry her off a little bit. She was amazingly calm while I used the warm blow dryer on her. Actually, she seemed to really love it. Now she's in my kitchen in her cage, with a Vermont milk parlor heater on her. Eric gave her some scrambled eggs and her egg layer crumbles. Not too long ago, I added a raw egg to them. Poor Ole' Meanie has had a heck of time these last two months! When she dries off really well, I will let her back out with the girls in the backyard.
Meanwhile, I'm enjoying a lazy day cozying up in my Lazy-Boy- (or girl!). At the end of next week we will be driving to Arkansas to visit my grandma who raised me. It's a trip I dread, well, I dread the drive! I love to see my "Mema" and always hate to go back to reality when I get used to being down there! We won't be staying as long as we usually do, because, Tony cat now that he's older needs more care and Mom will only be able to check on my chickens once a day.
Well, I'm closing for now. Back to my relaxation...well, online shopping for Christmas that is....