As we head into the latter part of January, things are getting a bit sassier among the flock. The three older hens who were molting are almost back to normal, with their fresh, shiny, new feathers; and the younger three look to be getting the final growth on their combs and wattles and acting more and more like hens–although egg laying has not started up again!
Trudy has all of her new feathers and she’s looking mighty fine (remember how sad she looked back in November?) Well, she is gorgeous and plump and seems to be making a play to take over things again. We saw her go after our meanest hen, Hilda, the other day. Her comb has not started to get red again, so she’s not quite ready to start laying–but we’re ready!
Hilda also has her new spring plumage, but you can see here that her comb and eyes are pale. She’s also not ready to start laying her large, light brown eggs again yet. Hilda may just be our fastest molter. She started back in mid-December when we had all that snow, and she’s fluffed out again quite nicely.
The three youngest pullets are currently 34 weeks old. We had hoped they would start laying last Fall but, alas, no dice. All three are getting increasingly clucky, tame, and have nice, full red combs and wattles, however, so we’re crossing our fingers that it may happen soon.
Meanwhile, the hens will soon give up their all-day every day free range lifestyle as we start to get the garden ready for Spring planting. They will still get some evening supervised time to forage and graze and they will get vegetables and other scraps to supplement their layer feed, they just won’t get the roam of the entire garden.