The Great Chicken Molt of 2012

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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.

grow and resist september 2012 chicken molt

They shed and regrow feathers over a period of 1-4 (!!!) months. During this time they typically stop, or greatly slow down, egg production.

grow and resist september 2012 chicken molt

Poor head

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.

grow and resist september 2012 chicken molt

Poor girl. She is one of my sweetest, calmest hens. Right now though? Skittish as all get out. She won’t even look at me!

grow and resist september 2012 chicken molt

See? Aspen has it bad. She is looking rough!

grow and resist september 2012 chicken molt

Sigh, even the fluffy chicken butts are not at their fluffy finest!

Now, cleanse your visual palate and check here to get a reminder of their fluffy awesomeness. I can’t wait till their back!

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