Thursday, October 18, 2012

mmm, not so pretty

There are clouds of fluffy feathers billowing around the backyard.  Oh yes, it's Molting Time!!  Winnie and Stella are shedding their old feathers, and boy do they look terrible.  Their bodies cannot produce eggs AND new feathers at the same time, so both girls have stopped laying and are now putting all of their energy into feather production.  It's a stressful but necessary process for birds.  Winnie and Stella are moving more slowly and are spending lots of time resting these days.  We make sure they get extra freeze dried mealworms to boost their protein intake.  ooo yummy!

I found this tidbit from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
A feather is a "dead" structure, somewhat analogous to hair or nails in humans. The hardness of a feather is caused by the formation of the protein keratin. Since feathers cannot heal themselves when damaged, they have to be completely replaced. The replacement of all or part of the feathers is called a molt. Molts produce feathers that match the age and sex of the bird, and sometimes the season.
Molting occurs in response to a mixture of hormonal changes brought about by seasonal changes.

In case you don't believe me, here are some "before and after" photos to illustrate just how unattractive the ladies are right now.

Winnie NOW


Stella NOW

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