I've been noticing some stray feathers in the chicken coop lately, so I knew something was going on, just couldnt' figure out what. Then a couple days ago I went into the coop and saw THIS:What in the world is THAT? Scraggly, ugly-looking bird? I thought my bird was sick, so I took isolated her in our chicken tractor so she wouldn't infect the others. Dude. My stomach still turns looking at the pictures of this hen's backside, with the spiky projections coming out. Since then I've looked more carefully, trying to overcome my eebie-jeebies, and it gets worse. It's like she has a thousand plastic-handled paintbrushes growing out of her back. GROSS!
So I took my overturned stomach inside to research what was happening to this bird, and sure enough, it turns out she is just molting. Apparently around 18 months old and usually in the springtime, chickens lose their old feathers and grow new ones. I thought my birds were finished with this, because they all look like adults, but apparently they have to do this at least one more time before being "full-grown." Kind-of like adolescence for birds. Adolescence can be awkward!
Alright. I have eight more birds that will go through this in the next year, so it's time to put my big-boy-suburbanite-turned-urban-farmer pants on and care for my birds, even when they make me sick. I'm trying to see God's glory in all this, but honestly, I wish he had made feathers grow in a more appealing way. I don't have to struggle to see beauty in the Grand Canyon or a multi-colored sunset, but maybe my personal appreciation doesn't truly measure the wonder of a Creator that makes, not only beautiful babies and mountain lakes, but also THIS:
Naked chicken backsides: another reason to praise God? I reckon so.