Q:  What do you get when you cross a chicken and a porcupine?
A:  A Chickupine

Actually, the porcupine effect is what happens when a hen who has lost her feathers due to too many rooster piggy back rides starts to feather out again.  This girl has been bare backed since we bought her last September and we didn't expect her feathers to ever grow in completely.  She is one of our best layers and hops up on our laps to eat cracked corn from our hands, so I was never concerned that she wasn't comfortable.  However, I am looking forward to seeing her covered in silky red feathers.

It does hurt when the feathers push through the skin, so we have made sure she is getting plenty of time out in the pasture away from the other girls.  All of the extra hand feeding probably isn't hurting either, but I can't pick her up right now to see how her weight is doing.  The girls tend to lose weight (and don't lay) when they are growing out their feathers due to the high amounts of protein needed to grow the feathers.  All of this has grown in the last week.

This girl looked even worse a few months ago and now is one of our best feathered girls (and a bit wary of the rooster).  I'll keep you updated on the progress that our lovely red rhode island hen makes with her feathers.