We’re all familiar with a snake shedding its skin. Chickens do something similar about once a year. It’s called molting.
What does molting look like?
Molt is when a chicken renews its feathers. The old ones fall out and are replaced with shiny new ones. It can be disconcerting the first time you see it. You will probably think the bird is sick. They certainly look pitiful during the process. But fear not, it is totally natural and will result in a beautiful new coat for your chicken.
Hens and roosters molt. Hens will also stop laying eggs during their molting period.
When do chickens molt?
Molting generally happens in fall or winter, when the days shorten. You’ll notice tufts of feathers missing and others barely hanging on. The chicken may also seem lethargic and irritable during the molt. Or it may act normally. Each one is different.
How long does it last?
About two weeks, give or take.
What do I do?
It takes a lot of energy for your chickens to molt. Feathers are mostly protein, so they will need to eat a lot. Make sure they have all the quality food they want. And mostly just give them space. No handling or stress. Leave them be and let the process take its course.
You’ll be surprised at how wonderful they look when they are done.