Friday, December 5, 2008

Buzzard head; new status; frosty garden

Here is the promised photo of Lena in molt (when chickens lose their feathers as the hours of sunlight get shorter in the winter).  Her poor naked head is covered only by the "pins" that hold her new feathers.   It appears that the new feathers actually push out the old ones, as she never really was bald:  just went from feathered to pin head.  The others are losing head and tail feathers as well, and the coop looks like someone got eaten and left only feathers behind.  

In other chicken news, Expresso, the rooster, is really starting to shake up the nice, comfortable routine of the hens.  He now insists on roosting on the top bar inside the coop at night, and takes up the space of two hens.  The three who used to roost there (Pauline, Hilda, and Louise) also want to be on that bar.  And, of course, Lena has always roosted beside Expresso, ever since she was 2 days old, so she wants to be up there too.  The roost won't hold them all, so we have a nightly drama.  Last night 4 of them were squeezed onto the roost, with one poor hen (Pauline, surprisingly) left out.  She was trying to spend the night in the nest box, but I can't allow that (don't want those nice, clean nest boxes getting all messy).  Hopefully they will work out some new plan that gives everyone a night time friend.  There just is no room to expand the top roost!

Finally, here are some photos showing how heavy the frost  has been on the garden this week (Arugula, Collards, and Italian Parsley).  So far everything has popped right back, but some of the lettuce will probably be lost soon if I do not come up with a row cover of some sort for the really cold night.  Beautiful salad of mixed lettuce, russian kale, and new carrots last night!