One of my hens, Patsy Cline, is entering her first molt. Patsy is our largest Buff Orpington, she's a giantess. We believe she's half rooster. She's really large. She has man feet, and a comb so large it hangs over her eye so she has to flip it back over her forehead like that skater boy you knew in high school. But I digress.
Patsy didn't go into her molt in the obvious way, beginning by dropping feathers from around her head and neck. Instead, she developed a noticeable bald spot around her butt, which, before I was certain she was just molting, made me think any number of terrible things could be happening.
When you're a novice chicken owner like me and you have questions about your hens, you go online to research. When you do so, you come across several dozen beautiful, Pinterest worthy blogs devoted entirely to hobby chicken ownership, coop and run care, and keeping your flock as happy and kodak-moment ready as a group of six-year-olds at a birthday party.
These blogs have all of the correct answers, and you will feel like a neglectful and selfish bird owner stuck in the dark ages of animal husbandry. You will also wonder how these people keep their yards so beautifully manicured whilst their flock of 20 heirloom heritage breeds free-range their way through the garden.
Or maybe that's just me. At any rate, after getting some good information and ruling out mite or lice infestation, bound eggs, or cannibalism, and determining that Patsy was indeed just molting, I decided that I wanted to give my girls a few treats to help ease their stress during molting season.
One idea I think is just lovely is nesting box herbs. You can buy bags of mixed herbs just for chickens, did you know this!? But also, if you have a bunch of herbs growing around your yard anyway, you can simply present your chicks with a wee posey and see what happens. Herbs not only smell nice and help provide calming aromatherapy for your birds, but they help to repel pests in the coop.
Kitty Wells was the first to check out the freshly cleaned nest box with herbal bouquet. She seemed to like it and settled right in!
I wonder if my girls will start getting big heads now that their coop is Pinterest-level awesome?