Chickens & SpringBy
This year we wintered over our back-yard chicken. Now I grew up on a chicken farm during the 50’s so I know a lot about chickens, however we never wintered them over. It was not economical; we purchased a new flock of baby chicks every year.
This time I watched our hen settle down into winter by first ceasing to lay eggs, then she started molting. This means she loses a lot of her feathers all at the same time. I was shocked by how many feathers she had piling up under her roost, and scattered around in her pen! Apparently it bothered me enough that I had a dream about her running out of the chicken house half naked! Well it never went that far, thankfully!
Henrietta was decidedly less lovely to look at in winter. Not only was she straggly looking with scant feathers, the pin feathers that grew in were white ‘pins’ sticking out all over her head and neck between the feathers that remained. She acted subdued and droopy during the dark days of winter – but then so do I!
Finally, as the days started to get longer, and we no longer saw anymore pin feathers sticking out white against her reddish brown feathers, she perked up! Henny started rearranging the straw in her nest and digging up places in her pen for a dust bath. Then one morning she did not race out of her house when the door was opened. She was sitting quietly on her nest in the back of the chicken house. We left her alone.
Later that morning, when she was back out in the yard, we opened up the nest box and found not one egg but three eggs! YAY! This means Spring is on the way for sure! If we had a rooster (not allowed in Denver County) she would have chicks by Easter! What a lovely surprise for a morning we had run out of eggs anyway. Since then Henny is back to laying an egg a day, and struts around her yard looking glossy, happy, and proud! Yay Henrietta! You ARE a Spring Tonic for me!