Here is an update on the big girls (the little girls update will come later). I ended up losing 2 birds this winter. Thankfully the cold weather is behind us and we can move on to warmer days.
The ladies have enjoyed roaming the yards again. I saw "yards" because they like to go over to my mother and brothers houses who live next door. They are eager to get out each day. They are so funny because anytime they see me (or my mother, husband, kids, visitors) they come running towards you. They always think you are there strictly to give them a snack.
I think a few of the ladies are starting to molt. One of my Plymouth Rocks has lost a lot of feathers on her neck. The other morning when I went to let them out I noticed white feathers everywhere. This picture doesn't do it justice because seriously, there are feathers EVERYWHERE. These are coming from the Brahmas but I can't tell where they are losing them from.
I didn't really plan it right. I was thinking they wouldn't start molting till around 15 months or so. Then once the older birds started to molt and stop laying eggs my new hens would be ready to lay and pick up the slack. I guess I was wrong because I am reading now that these birds moult around 12 months old. I am still getting about 3-5 eggs a day, but I was getting around 5-6.
If you aren't a chicken owner and have no idea what moulting is, it is a period of time where a chicken loses it feathers and gets new ones. It happens about once and year and they stop laying eggs during this process. It can take a couple months for them to get in their new feather and start producing eggs again.