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Feather Loss

When a chicken is about a year old she will start to lose her feathers but don\'t panic, this is meant to happen. She is moulting. This is a completely harmless process of plumage rejuvenation.

Most fashion-conscious chickens will try to coincide this with the annual autumn Paris Fashion Week so that they know what next seasons must-have colour is going to be.

They will then spend between 4 and 6 weeks completing their new look. As with most women, even if you can't see any difference, you must compliment your chicken on how wonderful her new feather-style is. If you don't, she may well sulk and refuse to lay you any eggs.

Make sure the birds are well fed during this period as it takes a lot of energy to grow new feathers.

Because of all the energy taking up with moulting, your chickens will stop laying until their new feathers have grown. It is also important to remember not to clip your chickens wings when they are moulting.

Customer Images

Chickens in run
Pin feathers coming through
My little warren is sending feathers everywhere! On her moult
Chicken sitting in dirt


Miné, 5 September 2021

Hi, is the any way of telling the difference between moulting and pecking? One of my bantams has lost almost all of her tail feathers and seems to be moulting but i cant tell which is going on…she isn’t keen to join the rest of the flock and has been keeping a distance, not eating much either. I haven’t seen any pecking behaviour but a worried I may have just missed it. We separated her but i just read that this isn’t advisable if they’re moulting as it can cause stress…? Any tips would be much appreciated. I will up their protein and vitamins now

Amy, 11 May 2020

Hi can it take longer than 2 months? One of my hens has lost feathers on her neck and has been without them for something like 4/5 months now (I should of noted down when it started)? And it looks like one of my other ones is loosing some now too! They both seem fairly happy, I have seen any mite type things on them, they don’t behave strangely, they’re eating well and both still laying although the one whose lost them for longer her eggs are quite fragile.

Suzie, 20 November 2019

One of my girls looks like she is having a very heavy moult, any movement and 100 feathers fall out. I hope its just a moult no sign of mites or pox. The problem is she's not eating. She goes through the motions, scratting and pecking but her crop is empty.... Knowing that moulting is very high in energy expenditure she's loosing weight and condition. What can I do to entice her to actually eat? She happily eats the Emeraide I give her so at least something is going down.....

Natalie, 2 April 2014

thanks for this advice I noticed a bald patch on my chickens breast and was beginning to worry.

Hilary, 19 October 2013

thank-you this was very helpful as I am a newbie owner of three gorgeous pekin bantam girls and have noticed in the past couple of wks lots of their feathers round the garden and in their house, was bit concerned as to the reason so this has put my mind at rest :)