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January 4, 2013

The Story of Dolly our Bald Chicken


Dolly has no head feathers.  She has been bald above the eyes for a while now.  It all started in the spring, when she had one of her broody bouts; mind you she goes broody about every three weeks.  That is just how Dolly is.  It is a vicious cycle.  Two days ago, I noticed that Dolly's head feathers were finally returning again. Beautiful dark pin feathers were filling in the bald vacancies.  They were about a half an inch long.  Was she finally going to have some poofy Silkie feathers?  Alas it wasn't meant to be.

I walked out to the coop this morning and opened up the door, out they all popped one by one except for Dolly.  Just like clockwork, as her feathers begin to return, so does the broodiness.  There she was sitting upon two tiny Silkie eggs in the far right nesting box.  Her tiny head was plucked clean in the center.  Some of the pin feathers were missing. Over the next few days, the rest will be pecked clean when she refuses to give up her favorite box to an impatient chicken ready to lay an egg.

I don't think that her head feathers will ever return, unless I separate her out from the others.  It is a sad price to pay for vanity if you ask me.  She is happy.  She is healthy.  She loves her family and she loves being broody.  She doesn't have a mirror to glance into nor does she need one.  She is Dolly, no matter if she is donning head feathers or not and she is beautiful.   She is beautiful in so many ways.

Dolly has the most gentle soul that I have ever met.  She loves to snuggle.  She loves to love and be loved.  She is sweet to everyone in the flock.  She never takes the lead and she never minds giving way to the others.  She is compassionate to other chickens when they are not feeling well and she loves to share a dust bath with Oyster Cracker everyday in the late morning.  Often, I will peek out the window to spy on them to find her resting her chin on Oyster Cracker's wing, both completely boneless in dust bath heaven.

Feathers or no feathers, it does not matter in the world of chickens.  Whether you are covered in dirt, walking around with a messy bottom everyday, or haven fallen victim to dreaded lice and mites, you are still part of the flock, accepted for who you are.

Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

14 comments:

  1. Poor girl. As long as she is not bloody. But oh the poor thing everyone pecking at her head. Life can feel like that sometimes.

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  2. Lovely girl! I have some sweet ones but they are young, no real problems yet..

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  3. Why is that the sweet ones are always the ones to get picked on? Dolly reminds me of my Faverolle, Eloise. Eloise is beardless,and will probably always remain so, thanks to her flock mates. Poor "Weezy" is picked on by everyone--even the little banty, Clementina, seems to take out her own frustrations with being low in the pecking order on Eloise. Nevertheless, it's Eloise she snuggles up to when it's time to roost!

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  4. That is so cute about her and Oyster Cracker!

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  5. Sweet little Dolly. That's what my Betty looks like. <3

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  6. Y'know, hens wear cute little aprons (I know they're saddles) why can't you make her a tiny little bonnet to let her wear while she's broody and then take it off when she's not? I just hate it when my hens peck each other!

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  7. Ahhh, she really looks like a sweet soul. x

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  8. Back in my day of farming my poor girl Charlotte was pecked and we used what they call Poultry blinders .Blinders, also known as peepers or chicken spectacles, are devices fitted to, or through, the beaks of poultry to block their forward vision and assist in the control of feather pecking, cannibalism and sometimes egg-eating. But that was way back in the 70s I have no idea what you would do or use now a days ! I do hope Dolly grows her feathers back and the pecking can be controlled for all of you ! Have a good day !

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  9. She looks just like my little black silkie, Baby moma except Baby moma is even more bald than yours. I wish I could think of a way to get her feathers to grow in.

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  10. Great story Melissa, thanks for sharing!!

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  11. Bless her! We have a couple of White silkies and those pom pom heads are hilarious aren't they lol. Our Silkie hen is also amazingly broody and will sit on any egg given half a chance, despite this though we have only ever managed to successfully rear 2 chicks. We don't have incubators etc so it is pretty much left to mum to watch them but she happily gets off them and lets them freeze. We put a couple of different eggs under her during her last hatch hoping it would encourage her to stay put but the eggs managed to crush one of the chicks :(
    Fingers crossed that Dolly soon gets her full pom pom :)

    Linda
    http://thetenaciousgardener.blogspot.co.uk/

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  12. As always, your adventures are awesome! You should write a book of all of them!

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  13. Thank you for this story! One of my silkies is almost completely bald. As a chick, she grew into her feathers, along with her sisters, and then they just started disappearing. I looked at every possibility I could think of, researched any condition that could cause this, and finally accepted that she would be featherless! I made her a fleece sweater, so she doesn't freeze - people think I am nuts - lately, since two of my other silkies have gone broody, they let her snuggle up to them in the boxes. Dianne B.

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  14. Sounds like Dolly has a wise lesson for all of us. She sounds like a wonderful hen!

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Thank you so much for your comments. I love hearing from you!