Harvesting a roosters tail feathers?


15 Years
May 24, 2007
I had someone ask me if you can harvest (pluck out) a roosters tail feathers and would they grow back before the once a year molt.

Also, is it painful or dangerous for the rooster?

I don't know so I'm asking some of you more experienced chicken keepers.
I have pulled a few tail feathers when they started showing white, to see if they would grow back in black. The roosters did seem to yelp a bit and hop away when I pulled them, so I think it hurt. They did grow back sooner than next moult. I think it may matter what point in the moult you pull them. If you pull when they are still in growth mode, I think they grow back. If you pull after they are fully grown out and hardened and dried and set, I think you would have to wait until next moult. Don't quote me though, it is just a theory.
pulling out feathers while they are still growing is not recommended, because at that point the bases of the feathers are still filled with blood. You can pluck a tail feather, at most anytime of the year and within 2 months it will be back to normal or gettin close. You can also give them small pieces of cat or dog food and the protein will help them come in quicker....
So can a rooster grow new tail feathers at any time of the year, or does he generally only grow them in the fall molt?
If all the feather comes out, it will grow back anytime. If you break off a peice and it stays in, it will not grow back before the next molt.

At least, that's the theory. I have not tried plucking feathers, but I've seen barebacked hens not grow back feathers until the next molt, probably because the feathers were broken off, not plucked. And I've seen feathers on a rooster's neck that the hens were plucking grow back before the molt.
Thanks for the info, Ridgerunner. I need to go inspect my hens. Someone suggested the blood on the rooster's tail might actually have come off the girls. I did see two feather's fall off Esther's side when he mated with her yesterday afternoon, and she did seem a little down last night at bedtime. She's up and running this morning, but I wonder? I appreciate your good info.

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