We have had a very bedraggled lodger camped at the French windows throughout the day, looking extremely sorry for herself. Charlie hen is moulting. She is beginning to look positively bald. Her feathers are falling out everywhere. The dog kennel resembles a war zone. Feathers litter the floor there, but don’t be deceived, the bold hen took it upon herself, when the weather got wild, to take refuge in the dog kennel snuggling up behind Mist the pup. Often Mist can be seen, a scowl on those chops, tucked up outside in the pouring rain such is her disdain at her new kennel mate.
Charlie has stopped laying eggs just now, but why she chooses to come off the lay and lose all of her feathers when the weather is so harsh and cold is beyond me. Usually you would see her surrounded in her feather duvet, as she fluffs the feathers all up around herself to keep warm in the rain and gales. Just now though her feathers are scant and she has huge bare patches where new feathers are beginning to grow. She looks so uncomfortable and itchy as she continually pecks at the old feathers. She isn’t endearing herself to the happy farmer either, he is less than impressed with all of the ‘parcels’ she deposits at the back door as she refuses to go foraging just now, preferring to wait for scraps from the children as she huddles into the door frame. I can’t say I blame her either and Mist seems to have joined her lately as well. The two of them sit, poised, with noses and beaks pressed firmly against the French windows, come rain hail or shine, as they watch the various comings and goings in the farm house kitchen.
Charlie did manage to keep laying an egg a day throughout December and for most of January. Even in the snow and ice we still found frozen eggs. Mist the pup has been enjoying Charlie’s eggs as well. I saw her carefully checking the nest when she thought we weren’t watching, pretending to have a pee nearby, before sneaking a quick peek into the roll of fencing wire Charlie was using as a nest. Mist only took an odd egg though, so we can cope with that, so long as she doesn’t get too greedy when Charlie comes back on the lay. No wonder Mist is so enthralled with her feathered pal.
Until next time….