It doesn’t seem that long ago the girls were undergoing their first molt, but it was actually the end of last October– 11 months ago. It makes sense though- chickens typically molt yearly starting late summer or early fall.
They shed and regrow feathers over a period of 1-4 (!!!) months. During this time they typically stop, or greatly slow down, egg production.
Molting generally begins in their 2nd year of life– so my eldest hens all molted last year. This isn’t always the case though- because our Speckled Sussex, Aspen, had the worst molt last year at 8 months and is going for the gusto even more so this fall.
Last year I was somewhat shocked at how hideous they looked. The feather loss was somehow different than I expected. I don’t know. I suppose I was used to a dog shedding. Dogs lose a lot of hair and make a giant mess, but don’t really look any different.
Not chickens. No, chickens look like they have lost some chicken-y battle. Chickens look diseased. And chickens act bonkers. They will do just about anything within their power to avoid you touching them. Apparently, when they are molting the feather follicles are painful to touch. I can understand that. What this looks like, however, is a flock of somewhat diseased, battle-worn chickens sneaking furtive glances of contempt, suspicion, and craziness.
Now, cleanse your visual palate and check here to get a reminder of their fluffy awesomeness. I can’t wait till their back!