Embarrassed by my chickens October 2, 2015

I’m embarrassed by my chickens–yup! I won’t show you any pictures of them right now because I’m too mortified by the way they look.  It’s a shame, too, because there would otherwise be some cool photo opportunities. For instance, I have a mama hen and a bunch of baby chicks that we are raising outside a brooder enclosure for the first time–they’re just in the pasture with the rest of the chickens (so far so good on this). Seeing little puffs of down in the grass is pretty adorable! I’d love to show you my broody hen and her chicks… but I won’t.

Instead I’ll show you a photo of a silkie mama and brood, courtesy of our customer Sole Riley:

Embarrassed by my chickens - here are someone else's chickens!

This silkie’s name is Matilda.

Why am I embarrassed by my chickens ? Fall is molting time. Nearly every chicken in my flock is missing feathers and is covered in new quills. My mama hen, Sukie, is not molting… however she IS stained from crest to tail with mud.  I’m embarrassed by my chickens when they look this way. After all, I’m a leading chicken expert, right? Shouldn’t all my chickens be magically in perfect condition all the time? Shouldn’t every bird be ready for the show floor all the time?

Alas—no. I AM embarrassed by my chickens. I may have rare breeds, but they have the same issues as other backyard chickens. Some of them keep themselves neat and clean, while others seem to roll in mud puddles. Some girls have beautiful, shiny feathers, while the best layers tend to have broken feathers toward the end of the season (a greater share of their resources go to making eggs than feathers). I have other white chickens that stay clean all year. But not Sukie. She must know I want to take chicken photos.

Beautiful silkie and chicks

My hen Sukie could take some lessons from Sole Riley’s hen Matilda!

Sukie is not dirty, exactly, just stained. We have red clay dirt around here, and when it gets wet, that red clay mud—full of iron oxides—will stain just like rust. This mama hen is a half silkie. She has smooth (not silkied) feathers, and a large head crest. And she is white—or was. Should be. But now she is the color of red dirt, like always at this time of year. She gets into puddles in the spring, and stays red-and-brown until the fall molt. What’s the deal, Sukie?

Sukie has raised several broods of chicks for us over the years, but frustratingly, she is always covered with mud stains; she is just not photogenic at all.

Are you embarrassed by any of your chickens ? Do any have personal grooming issues? Please let us know in the comments.

4 Comments
ROYSFARM October 4th, 2015

I love this bantam variety. Where can I find it?

Lissa October 5th, 2015

They are called Silkies, as I mentioned. We sell many different plumages of silkie, and we are the first hatchery in the US to offer sexed bantams (rather than straight run chicks only). To see all our baby chick varieties, click on the “day old baby chicks” link on the left hand side of this page in the nav bar. 🙂

Kylie April 5th, 2016

I love your blog but I have one question, what is a brood?

Lissa April 6th, 2016

A “brood” refers to a group of chicks that a hen has hatched and is raising. A hen who is setting on eggs–trying to hatch them–is described as a “broody hen” or just “a broody.” A broody breed of chicken is a breed whose hens often want to hatch eggs. You can read more about broodiness at the link, there. 🙂

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