Molting Chickens

Molting is a natural process that chickens go through yearly to renew their feathers. When molting, chickens gradually lose their old feathers and replace them by growing new features.  Molting can take anywhere from two to six months to complete. When a hen is molting, she usually will stop laying.

Molting can also result from stress, which can occur if a hen has to go without feed or water.

For more information about molting, see “Molting of laying hens” from the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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4 Responses to Molting Chickens

  1. Colleen says:

    Just have to say I’m in total agreement with the Red Star.

    They are the sweetest and wonderful egg laying machines!
    Also love my Speckled Sussex and Salmon Favorelles

    I have a total of six hens and get six eggs consistently every day. Beautiful eggs from day one.

    I do give them the best of food (organic ordered from My Pet Chicken)

    Fresh organic ssalad/herb greens, water, exercises and a very clean house, always.

    I believe they are very happy little ladies!

    I know I am. Beautiful eggs, fresh from home.

  2. Deb says:

    I’ve had Red Stars for 3 yrs. and mine have never stopped laying, even when molting. They may only lay 1 egg every 2-3 days during a molt. Red Stars are one of my favorite breeds of chickens – they are usually calm, friendly, and lay beautiful brown eggs – very easy keepers, not easily stressed, and good at foraging. They’re a breed I’ll always keep because they are close to the perfect chicken for me.

  3. Brad Cox says:

    Is it true that not all breeds of chickens will stop laying eggs while they molt? I have read that breeds such as the Red Stars keep laying eggs while molting.

    • McMurray Staff says:

      When a hen is molting, all her energy is going back into the feather re-growth and not being used for egg production. Depending on the severity of the molt, some hens will simply have a reduction in production but won’t completely stop laying. It is possible that some production strains or hybrids, such as the Red Stars, won’t completely stop laying during their molt.

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