LeAnn posted this blog on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 at 1:22 am

You should see our Americauna chicken, Gingersnap.

Or actually, I”m glad you can’t see her. Gingersnap looks pathetic. She is ragged and messy and patchy.

Gingersnap has started to molt. And she is going at it like she means it. One day she looked normal, and the next day, there were feathers *everywhere* — inside the hen house and all over the chicken run. And it has only gotten worse. She has now lost all of her tail feathers and some of the feathers on her wings.

Up until she started molting, Gingersnap was laying eggs regularly. Lovely, large, blue-green eggs. But of course, once she started molting, she stopped laying.

Bluebell started molting a while back, but I only found a few black and white feathers around the run and hen house. Nothing of the volume of Gingersnap’s molt.

Laverne and Shirley, the buff orpington pullets, are too young to molt just yet,  I think.

I hope Gingersnap grows her feathers back before it gets too cold. I’ve looked at pictures of molting chickens on the Internet, and I *think* I can detect the beginnings of pin feathers coming back.

I’m not sure where the time has gone to, but it is really beginning to look like fall around here. Some of the leaves are starting to turn colors, and the landscape is just generally taking on the yellow-gold look of fall. The box elder trees are beginning to lose their leaves, so in general, part of the landscape is beginning to look thin.

It has been a poor year for wild fruit. A warm March followed by late frosts in May played havoc with the fruit blossoms. For the first time in many years there are no wild black cherries or choke cherries and the plum tree by the barn does not have a single plum. I thought the tree was dead this spring because only the bottom half got leaves. It wasn’t until June, after the weather warmed up again, that the rest of the leaves emerged.

The grape vine by the elm tree in back of the barn has a few grapes, but they are way up in the tree and much too high to reach, not even with our tall step ladder. The birds are going to have to enjoy those.

The days are getting so much shorter, too. I hate to see the sun setting at 7:30 p.m. I love the long days of June when there is still light in the sky after 10 p.m.

If the frost can hold off for a while yet, we might get some pie pumpkins. That’s if the deer can stop eating the pumpkin vines.

And speaking of deer, the other night when I went out to check on the horses, I heard a strange clicking sound coming from the hayfield. In the light of the moon, I could just make out deer spread across the field. Many deer, actually. When I told Randy about the clicking sound, he said it was probably two bucks sparring and clicking their horns together. Maybe so. The barn kittens heard it, and in the moonlight, I could see them creeping up to the fence in Kajun’s pasture to listen.

I guess we really do have quite a few signs of fall around. So come on, Gingersnap, hurry up and grow some feathers before it gets cold. Otherwise I might have to knit a sweater for you. I saw pictures of that, too, on the Internet, of little jackets people had made for their molting chickens. . .

LeAnn R. Ralph

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