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HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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Fowl Language

We had a lovely time chez English yesterday, spouting “fowl language” (again, I have to credit Kristina for this cheeky pun), noshing, and dishing all things poultry. Thank you so very much Natalie, Kirsten, Rebecca, Grace, Jenn, and Erika for making the trek out here and sharing your time, resources and lovely selves with me, Hubs and Huxley.

I thought I’d take a quick minute and show those of you that might perhaps be unfamiliar with, or new to, “molting” what it looks like. For most chickens, late summer/early autumn heralds the arrival of their annual “molt,” when, just like a snake sheds its skin, they shed their feathers.

They don’t look pretty during this period. Far from it. In fact, they look downright ugly, bless their hideous hearts. Some birds shed their plumage quickly, while for others it’s a more drawn-out process. During this period, they typically won’t be producing eggs, as the calcium that would otherwise be used to form an eggshell is going into the production of quill formation. So, don’t fret if you one day notice your otherwise glorious Brahma or stunning Welsummer start to look like a sad, scrawny bird. It’s totally natural. Pathetic looking, but natural, nonetheless.

In this photo you can see the barbed wire Hubs erected last winter, after a series of determined, intrepid raccoon attacks. We now refer to the coop as “Chicken Fort Knox.” It’s a fortress, pretty much.

Huxley decided he was tapped out on hanging exclusively with his Papa by this point in the day (we’d been chatting and eating for over 3 hours by then), so he joined me at the last leg of the coop tour.

I can’t begin to truly express just how much I’m enjoying teaching classes out here. It’s such a treasure to be able to put faces and personalities with some of small measure’s readers. Look for more classes in late winter/early spring, when we’ll do up some dairy and catch a buzz on beekeeping.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re up to, may it be grand!

6 Responses to Fowl Language

  • Elaine says:

    Oh, I would be attending your classes in a heartbeat if I was just a little bit closer! SOunds like a wonderful time.

  • Joe and Jill says:

    I would love to attend one of your classes! I follow your blog and love your writing and pictures. I live in Utah so the commute to one of your classes is a bit too long; otherwise I'd be there! My husband and I have decided to start our own homestead. Next Summer we will begin shopping for the perfect house and property. We have been reading everything we can get our hands on about homesteading including your books.
    Thank you for sharing your life, knowledge and skills with us.
    :)

  • Erica says:

    What lucky ladies! I am planning on starting a flock this spring, I wish I was closer so I could attend one of your classes!

  • Indio says:

    Congrats!! It's always fun to meet new people with similar interests who could become friends.

  • amanda says:

    I haven't missed a cheesemaking class, have I? Very, very interested in it when you host one!

  • Grace says:

    I had a great time, Ashley. The information was relevant, the noshes were delish, and the company was divine. Thank you!

    Hugs for Huxley.