Feathers

There are an infinite variety of feathers … and even within breeds, each hen has a unique pattern, though we’d be hard pressed to spot some of their differences!

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Gold-laced Wyandotte … buff coloured feathers with a black edge. (The Silver-laced Wyandotte has white feathers with a black edge and looks very striking indeed … perhaps another time?)

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The CouCou (Cuckoo) Maran has barred feathers … rather like the Cuckoo after which it’s named, or the breast feathers of a Sparrowhawk.

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The Blue Maran has these delicately laced grey feathers with a darker edge, and see how the buff/brown develops in the ruff feathers.

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The Sussex has dark feathers on ruff, tail and wing tips … Carey’s are quite striking, while Clare’s are less marked …

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There is also a Speckled Sussex which has a different colouring altogether … and which I should love to see in the garden one day.

But even the run-of-the-mill brown ex-batt has a vast range of feathering …

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I noticed Betsy has these beautiful white-laced gold-edged feathers in her ruff, and that her new feathers (still not fully grown) are mottled dark and light …

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I do hope that once her feathers are fully through she will perk up, as she’s clearly still not feeling 100%. Any hen, even ex-batts, can change colour after a moult … the same but with these subtle differences.

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I have always struggled to tell our bantams apart … we had one (that we recently lost) with a golden ruff that was easily identifiable. But of our remaining bantams, there are three with quite pale ruff feathers, and two with darker and I have no idea which is which!

I’m not sure I could tell the Vicarage girls apart without the leg rings …

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… though on careful study their combs are all slightly different.

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But there are other ways to tell who is who … if you spend time with hens, you soon realise that they each have their own individual characters. So hopefully the rain will hold off a little longer and I can sit a while with the girls and a pocket full of corn 🙂

Bertha's distinctive feathering

Now which hen is this?!

 

 

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