Imagine the reaction you would get if you simply didn’t show up at work for 4 months. Well, that is what both Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum have done.
In late September, these two sisters stopped laying eggs, lost many feathers and refused to leave the indoor coop.
Now it is the end of January and there seems to be no end in sight. They continue to lose feathers from different parts of their bodies and they stay roosted all day and all night. Dum laid one egg at the beginning of December but then stopped laying again. The only time either of them leave the coop is if FM and I forcibly scoop them and bring them outdoors. But as soon as they spy an opportunity, they run back indoors.
On weekends, we make a point of bringing them each outside to sit on our laps on the porch. Neither of these girls minds being handled and will sit quite contentedly and snooze – especially if the sun is shining.
These two are from our original brood and are now a mature 22 months old. I read that chickens will go through their first hard moult during their second winter but I had no idea that it would last so long.
This week, while reading Annie Pott’s Chicken, I learned that a natural moult can take five months. I also learned that denying food and water to a moulting chicken can shorten the moult and get them laying again. That is what is done in factory chicken farms but that kind of treatment has no place in the Queendom.
My loyal followers will also note that I have taken about five months off from writing this blog. But, in my own good time, I have returned and so will the Tweedles. All of our employment contracts will be reinstated whenever we see fit to return to work. And nobody will mind if our productivity tapers down as well. It’s all part of living in Chicken Heaven.