Stop! Do not be alarmed. Your hen is not bare, she is simply growing new clothes.
You can expect your bird to begin losing feathers first on its head, then later down the back, followed by the breast and concluding with the wings.
The duration of molting varies. Depending on your bird, it might experience a hard or soft molt. A hard molt simply means your chicken loses all of its feathers at once, over a few days. A soft molt, on the other hand, can take several weeks. During this time your chicken is trying its best to store up nutrients, and with each feather it loses, it loses protein. (Did you know a feather is 85% protein?!). So unfortunately, during this period, which can last anywhere from 4-15 weeks, you will not see too many eggs. This gives you more time to focus on making sure your birds are fed extra adequately, and always have enough water. If your feed is not high in protein, you may want to reconsider your choices with these natural molting periods in mind.
This is also a very tiring time for your chicken, and it is best not to give them incentives for stress. Refrain during this time from over-handling your chickens or, even worse, introducing new chickens to the coop. This adds extra exhaustion which should be avoided at a critical time!
It’s amazing how much learning is to be done about backyard chicken raising! If you have any questions or comments, please, do not hesitate to give us a call. If you want more information about our chicken coops especially, we await your inquiry. Lancaster Chicken Coops thanks you!