Why Chickens Stop Laying Eggs and Molt in the Fall
November 12, 2015
Feeding Your Birds During the Winter Months
November 12, 2015

Will my Chickens’ Feathers EVER Grow Back?!

Chickens often lose a number of their feathers and temporarily stop their egg production during an annual natural process known as molting. The time it takes for your birds to go through this process can vary.

The goal of a molt is really to give the birds a chance to regenerate their reproductive tissue, to regenerate some feathers and take a break from production.

One of the main things that you’re going to notice when your birds are molting is that they will lose their feathers, which will often take a while to come back.

Don’t worry, the feathers will come back. Some of them will come back faster than others and you’ll notice that when they do, it will vary from hen to hen. Some hens will have their feathers back within a week or two. Some hens may take upwards of two or three months for their feathers to come back.

In the meantime, make sure your hens have plenty of feed because a feather is produced using protein and keratin. So they’ll need to be getting the nutrients they need to build those feathers.

You’ll notice in some of your birds that you’ll see variation in the feathers when they come back. You’ll see some fluffy, down-looking feathers, some bald spots, and often it will look like you’re seeing quills coming through the skin, which is actually the beginning formation of a feather. When that happens it won’t be too much longer, maybe just another couple weeks, before those feathers will fill in very nicely.

Nancy Jefferson
Nancy Jefferson
Nancy is a poultry nutritionist with Kalmbach Feeds with a PhD in food and animal science from West Virginia University. She resides in Crown City, Ohio with her husband John, where they raise beef cattle and keep a flock of backyard chickens. Nancy enjoys watching her chickens scratching and pecking around and collecting fresh eggs to feed to her family. She is a regular contributor to the Feed Your Flocks blog, where she provides tips and information to help backyard poultry owners get the most from their flocks. Read more about Nancy