I've been giving the Girls pellet porridge, made with chick crumb and laced with Poultry Spice, for the last couple of cold mornings. This morning it wasn't too cold, but I wanted to give Delilah something extra, as her moult is getting worse.
I put some cat food (non chicken variety, of course) on a plate and laced it with Poultry Spice. Then I went and collected Leeloo who, generally speaking, doesn't really subscribt to being collected, even if the reward is Delicious Cat Food.
Surprisingly, I managed to catch her first time. Maybe she guessed that there was Cat Food at stake and only wanted to make a token effort at resistance. When I picked her up, I nearly dropped her.
She felt....like she was covered in plastic spines. As I carried her over to the garden seat and the waiting cat food, I looked through her feathers. She looks like...a plastic chicken. She's still very bare, but now she has rows and rows of thick, steel-grey, plastic spiny things all over her. It looks like she's forming an exoskeleton with knitting needles. All over her back, all down her neck.
I called for DH to come and look, and while she ate the cat food and I rested my hand across her back, DH had a look. They are, of course, new feather shafts. But they are really scary.
I couldn't risk putting her down to get my camera, I'll try and have it to hand next time.
EDITED TO ADD: I wasn't able to hold Delilah and take pics, so you can only see parts of the feather shafts in these photos - she has her wings covering most of them.
You can see what they are like on the photos of her bottom.