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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Morning Coming Down

What happened to Louise's tail?

Not smoking, not drinking, not so lonely this Sunday morning. But, Louise lost her tail! I think it was there when I brought her in last night. It is not lying around in their night cage. But, the droppings are sure strange.

Louise has only two tail feathers. She had a magnificent tail until this morning. Or, today is the first I noticed it. I roamed around with a camera in 45 degree, wet, tall grass in sandals trying to get this picture. Now, my toes are like ice since I refuse to turn on the heater. Maybe socks will help and furry house shoes. Okay, that is the plan when I get up from here. Thaw toes.

Don't you love Kris Kristofferson? I was so happy and rested this morning even though I am in an incredible amount of pain. Then, I saw Louise's tail and a funk set in and reminded me of the title and tone of song. But, the tail? It is so puzzling.  I slept 12 hours, so there is no reason not to be happy, right? LOL

If this is a full molt, it is their first since they seem to just lose a few at a time, looking straggly for a few days. Okay, I am cooking a pot of pinto beans with lots of chicken broth, all for the hens. They need it.

Hopefully, none of you have lost anything this morning, especially tail feathers from a hen.

Your turn
What could have caused the tail loss?  Have you lost anything this weekend?


  1. so sorry to hear you're still plagued with much pain! this chicken post reminds me of something I keep forgetting to mention. You said one day that you couldn't gather your chickens to roost...a young man who worked at a living historical farm we visited mentioned that he discovered by accident that his chickens would head to roost if he opened a black umbrella around them. Said he'd tried other colored umbrellas and only black would work. think that makes the chickens think of predatory birds? anyway, just thought I'd share that!

  2. Actually, if you remember, I complained they wanted to roost on the porch rail, about six inches from the door where their night cage was sitting inside the door. (maybe I said that in a later post) It was pitch dark before I put the cage in the doorway. That was the problem. When I get my achy breaky back up and put the cage in the door at dusk, they skip jumping on the railing, hop right up the steps and into the cage. Even if they get on the rail to call me in mournful tones, they will get down if it is not dark.

    If it is almost dark and I am tired of the cold coming in the house, I turn off the porch light. They VERY quickly decide to come in. But, if it is dark, they just tuck their heads and go to sleep.

    However, this is great news to have. I will have to search for a cheap or unusable umbrella, one with a rib broken and hanging. I would have thought that a dark sky would be what they would think of when they saw the black umbrella. Predator bird sounds more plausible.

    One day when I was leaving and it was sprinkling, they came running, wanting me to make it quit or give them something to eat. I opened the hot pink umbrella on the porch and they squawked and ran. Now, they are afraid of a closed umbrella.

    I would have thought that they came to roost for the guy, thinking it was dark out since the umbrella is black. I do know they are afraid of pink or the sudden opening of my umbrella.

  3. Dmarie,

    Also, if I don't let them out of the cage because I have not gotten home in time, even before dusk, they won't come out of their egg-laying boxes. That is when I have to forcibly take them out and they hold onto the edge, squawking like I am killing them.

  4. Hi Linda
    No, luckily I have not lost anything besides sleep this weekend.
    I think that it helps me alot to keep my feet warm. It helps me with pain in my legs anyhow. I don't let my feet get cold anyway. Maybe wear socks right out of bed? It feels cozy regardless.

    My dog and the llama are afraid of umbrellas! Yes, even the Dalai wouldn't come near me this morning when I went out to give him his treat in the rain. I had to leave the umbrella a few feet away before he would approach. I think the dog and llama all think that the umbrella plus the person carrying it is just one bigger predator! LOL! Mine is white and blue.

  5. My hens were terrified of my red camera because I rarely had it out. I started carrying it when I did not want to obscure my face and just held it near them. They would examine it from afar and then nearer. Now, I can get right in their faces with the camera to take pics.

    Even though the hens knew me, they did not know me with a red face. LOL.

    Carry the umbrella, not opened, even when you don't need it. Soon, both the dog and llama will know it as safe.

    My feet were not cold in the 55 degree house. Cold, wet grass did it to me. I will wear socks all winter, starting soon!

  6. Hi! I wanted to return the blog visit and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment on mind. Most of my chickens lost their tail feathers recently, from moulting. Not sure if that's what's happening to Louise, but I'd be surprised if she didn't grow them back. :)

  7. Leigh,
    You are welcome. Mine have never had a molt as described and pictured. They just lose a few feathers now and then. She looks like a critter intent on eating her grabbed at her. Oh, I think she will. She just looks a little strange and horrified me.

    I kept waiting for a full molt--never happened!

  8. Hey, your chickens sound broody Linda. That death stare they give you when they won't budge from the nest. That's the, "I want to hatch me darn eggs," glare and they have to be physically removed.

    They also look like they are moulting. A can of tinned cat food - the fish variety is a good pick me up remedy. Full of protein and helps in the production of new feathers.

    What did I lose this weekend (past) how about a husband, LOL? I mean, he was called in to work on the weekend. ;) Actually we were checking out the chickens one morning, collecting the eggs and I said we've got the best lot of chickens we've ever had. They lay consistently, never seem to get ill (they even take turns in moulting, how considerate, LOL) and have lovely big eggs.

    The moulting stage is completely natural though, and I think it's a strange fluke of nature that our hens aren't all moulting at once. ;)

  9. Chris,
    My hens molt all the time. Some hens do that, never an all-over molt, just a feather here and there. They always look raggedy! But, the whole tail except for two feathers was quite

    Yes, they stay broody, I believe. Monday, two of them spend about four hours on the nest, wouldn't come out to eat or anything. AND, no eggs. They are funny, staring like that, but have never tried to peck me or made a sound in protest.

    They had pine straw for a long time. I asked exbf to put some leaves on top of the pinestraw, He put so many that the eggs get lost. Yesterday, I barely saw a half inch of egg, dug around and found another completely hidden. I am not usre if they are hiding them on purpose or not. I suspect they are trying to build up a stash.

    For protein, I feed them tuna, eggs, and scraps from meat I cook that they can pick from bones. In my opinion, cat food might make them ill. My hens never get medication.

    I see feathers all over, all the time. But the whole tail? That was a shock to this chickie mama after almost three years of watching moulting, one feather here and one there, disappearing.

    These are my first, gotten from a farmer, so they are not pure Rhode Island Reds, mutts, I guess. It is so nice to get lots of eggs, big is nice. I can tell who laid which egg.

  10. Thank you for visiting my blog. This post had me singing the Ray Charles song "Shake Your Tail Feather". Poor Louise!

  11. Joe, LOL...I will have to learn the song and sing it for her. Maybe it will inspire her to grow new tail feathers.


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