Warm Feathers / by Chris Maynard

My geese are molting their feathers.  Unlike most birds, geese and other kinds of waterfowl shed their feathers all at once.  So now, the goose feathers are strewn all around my field. Sometimes my geese get out which is where they were when I got home this afternoon. As I herded them back into the field, I caught one to see how its feathers were growing back in.  When I grabbed the bird, it felt warm as they always do since their temperature is 6 or 7 degrees warmer than ours.  What surprised me was that the growing feathers were just as warm.

I had never felt warm feathers.  But it isn’t really so surprising when you know that the growing feathers are heavily supplied by blood.  So much that if I cut the bigger goose feathers off at the shaft, the bird could bleed to death.  So this is a time of their lives that try to treat themselves more gently until the feathers are fully grown.