Molting - How long does this take?

Redhead Hen

10 Years
Apr 14, 2009
Rising Sun, Maryland
I have 6 laying hens that all seem to be molting. All at the same time! I have 5 Golden Comets and 1 RIR. They are in varying stages though .. with some just starting and one almost naked!!
Now I was getting 5 or 6 eggs a day from them and of course this number has dropped and actually I have not gotten any eggs in about 2 or 3 days. I know the days are getting shorter and we had a stretch here of super cloudy days and rain for almost 2 weeks. But for the eggs to stop completely is a bit concerning for me. I do have some younger pullets - 4 to be exact - that I think are starting to lay, so I'm not completely egg-less. I have upped the layer feed and I'm gonna try to keep the coop light on for added light. I have also read about adding more protein to their diets.

BUT ~ How long should I expect to be with out eggs? I just got a new egg buyer this week too! LOL! They laid all winter last year. Am I asking too much to get eggs this winter too?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions and comments!
Molting can last from 2 to 6 months. These links give you some good information on that, including how to judge how long it may actually be for your hens.

Mississippi State describes molting

Kansas State feather loss

Sometimes pullets will skip the molt their first fall/winter and keep laying well all winter. However, almost all of them molt their secong fall/winter and really cut back laying. That's how mine have done it.
My chickens are doing the same thing now. Why a chicken wants to molt when the weather starts getting cold is beyond me!? We are down to 2 or 3 eggs a day. Our chicken run looks like someone has been plucking chickens.
Same thing here the 9 old girls (2 & 3 years old) are molting and I am lucky to get 1 or 2 eggs a day from them. It's a good thing that the girls from my April hatch are starting to lay and I'm getting a couple of small pullet eggs a day from them. Last fall molt it took them 3 months to start laying again!
Thanks for those links!! I'm gonna have to go look a wings now! LOL!

Yeah ... I'm still amazed that they molt in the fall like this. I mean, feathers are there to help keep them warm and now they need to keep warm! LOL! Silly birds!

I'm waiting on my pullets from my April hatch to get into a rhythm too. I know they are laying because I'm getting a few small eggs here and there. But man ... I am really missing those big Golden Comet eggs!

Thanks so much y'all!
The reason they molt this time of year is that it is a bad time of year to raise chicks. It is a lot easier for them to raise chicks during the spring and summer. Instead of laying eggs and hatching chicks in the winter months, they take a break to recharge their system and use the extra energy they have since they are not laying eggs to replace their feathers that have been worn or broken. If they molt in the fall, they have a nice complete set of fresh feathers to keep them warm when it really gets cold.
My seven girls (4 RR, a BR and 2 buff plymouths) had a huge mold starting in December last year, into February when it was snow and cold as ice! The really cut back on eggs (and look ridiculous). Now, here it is October, and I think they are molting again. Do they do it every year? They have also cut back on laying--average of 2 a day.
Glad you posted this question! I have two that are in full molt! My smaller Buff Orpington is almost bald! She even acts bashful... Doesn't want to be touched... But she is eating like a pig... I am feeding Flock grower which is 20% protein....and high protein birdseed--15% --Not sure if that will help but It won't hurt! If it lasts long, I may have to make her a jacket... LOL
I have several that have gone into molt. They started in January. They are looking really rough. I was getting 18 eggs a day now down to a low of 12 to a high of 14. Then, I have a buff who decided to go into brood and hatched 7 babies a week ago. Such interesting behavior.

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