My Light Sussex hens are looking a little ‘worn out’ feather wise after having been mated over the past few months. I have been taking a look at some of the photos I took in the spring when they were looking so much better.
Whilst I love the idea of keeping a cock with a group of hens, at this time of year, I start to worry about my girls feathers, or rather lack of in the the back department.
For those of you who don’t keep a cock running with your hens, you probably wonder what all the fuss is about. Well, as he treads the hens, he’s doing a little balancing act and as he does this, he’s also damaging feathers with his feet and spurs.
After a while, a hens back becomes bare and there can be cuts to the skin from spurs and feet which are very painful for the hen.
I have been looking back through my photos of my hens and they look rather smart before they were put with the cock, so I thought I would share a few photos with you.
Here are some of the photos I took of my girls when they were looking a little better:
Poultry saddles can be used to protect the hens’ backs. There’s more information on this on this page: Poultrykeeper Saddles page.
I have decided it’s now time for my girls to ‘saddle up’ now before they lose too many more feathers and I am looking forward to giving them a rest and seeing their feathers return to their former glory after the autumn moult.
The light Sussex line I have originally came from Nick Smith. They have been really good birds, great lookers and with great utility qualities, just as the Sussex should be. Pullets will lay through the winter months at a slow rate when they first come into lay and I get a good supply of eggs throughout the spring and summer.
If you don’t know much about the Sussex, you can have a look at our breed page where there are more photos of the light and other varieties.
With everything that I have had on this year, I have left hatching until late in the season. I now have just a small number (10) youngsters that should be going outside onto grass in another month. Initial thoughts are 6 pullets and 4 cockerels but I have been wrong before!
What are you breeding this year? Please leave me a comment and let me know.