Your Chickens - - Charlotte’s Chickens -

When your hens are moult­ing you might no­tice what look like bits of flaky skin or dan­druff be­ing shed along with the feath­ers on the floor of the hutch. This can look alarm­ing, but don’t worry. It is per­fectly nat­u­ral. These white flakes are the sheaths or waxy coatings that are be­ing dis­carded as the new feath­ers de­velop. Once an old feather has been shed, the new feather starts emerg­ing pretty soon and is en­cased in a waxy coat­ing or sheath. This is a nee­dle-like tube in which the feather is pro­tected. You will then see the tip of the feather emerg­ing and these tiny pro­tu­ber­ances look a lit­tle like the tips of paint­brushes. Once the feather be­comes a lit­tle longer, the sheath will be dropped and it is these that you will see among the drop­pings un­der the perches. Birds will also preen to re­move these white coatings and help the feath­ers emerge.

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