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Feather Loss

Chickens will ‘moult’ seasonally – usually, at the end of the summer, they will lose a lot of their old broken feathers and grow nice new ones. At other times of the year, chooks may have a partial-moult, where they lose some of their neck feathers. Both types of moult are completely natural and nothing to be worried about. It’s wise, however, to ensure that the bald patches aren’t due to an illness. Give your pets a thorough health check at the start of the moult.

Whilst most of the year, your chickens will look like this, they do go through several weeks of feather loss

During the moult, your hens will need to be provided with a very good diet. Growing all those feathers requires a lot of different nutrients, and so while they’re undergoing this process you may want to supplement their diet with some chicken vitamin supplements. Many chook owners have had success with Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s useful to understand that that during the moult, one resource that your chooks will need a lot of is protein. Don’t be surprised if your hens stop laying when they’re in moult. Feather production will use a lot of the protein that the hens get from their diet, so there may not be enough for egg creation.

Customer Images

Chickens in run
Pin feathers coming through
My little warren is sending feathers everywhere! On her moult
Chicken sitting in dirt


Miné, 5 September 2021

Hi, is the any way of telling the difference between moulting and pecking? One of my bantams has lost almost all of her tail feathers and seems to be moulting but i cant tell which is going on…she isn’t keen to join the rest of the flock and has been keeping a distance, not eating much either. I haven’t seen any pecking behaviour but a worried I may have just missed it. We separated her but i just read that this isn’t advisable if they’re moulting as it can cause stress…? Any tips would be much appreciated. I will up their protein and vitamins now

Amy, 11 May 2020

Hi can it take longer than 2 months? One of my hens has lost feathers on her neck and has been without them for something like 4/5 months now (I should of noted down when it started)? And it looks like one of my other ones is loosing some now too! They both seem fairly happy, I have seen any mite type things on them, they don’t behave strangely, they’re eating well and both still laying although the one whose lost them for longer her eggs are quite fragile.

Suzie, 20 November 2019

One of my girls looks like she is having a very heavy moult, any movement and 100 feathers fall out. I hope its just a moult no sign of mites or pox. The problem is she's not eating. She goes through the motions, scratting and pecking but her crop is empty.... Knowing that moulting is very high in energy expenditure she's loosing weight and condition. What can I do to entice her to actually eat? She happily eats the Emeraide I give her so at least something is going down.....

Natalie, 2 April 2014

thanks for this advice I noticed a bald patch on my chickens breast and was beginning to worry.

Hilary, 19 October 2013

thank-you this was very helpful as I am a newbie owner of three gorgeous pekin bantam girls and have noticed in the past couple of wks lots of their feathers round the garden and in their house, was bit concerned as to the reason so this has put my mind at rest :)