The hen yard is still full of feathers. There are long, sleek feathers and piles of fluffy feathers. In my last post, I talked a bit about how to ease your chickens through a molt – the annual replacement of worn and faded feathers that occurs in all birds. I have plenty of different breeds of chickens, so the discarded feathers are of various colors, but I wondered about the different types of feathers, so I did some investigating.
|Fluffy down feathers|
|© Copyright D G Mackean|
|Wing feather –notice how one side is larger than the other.|
The primary flight feathers, and there are usually 9 or 10, are the long feathers at the end of the wing; the secondary feathers, a bit shorter, are next, and the three smallest feathers are closest to the bird’s body. These feathers all spread to capture air and close tightly after a flight. The filaments on flight feathers are often shorter on one side of the shaft than the other. Flight feathers are for aerodynamics.
|Note her one remaining tail feather : nearly the same size on both sides of shaft.|
Roosters’ lovely tail feathers develop as they mature, and healthy looking tail feathers may indicate virility.