Why are they molting?


5 Years
May 16, 2014
Finger Lakes, NY
I have 2 hens that are molting. They were both born last March, so they are about 1 yrs old. Its spring here in Upstate NY. Ive never had a molt at this time of the year or this young. Started with the head feathers, and is working its way down. One is still laying and the one that is molting harder isn't. We had a run of lice/mites a few months ago, but they have been cleared of all bugs for at least 8 weeks.
She looks worse now, this photo was taken 10 days ago.


The Chicken Whisperer
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 11, 2010
If she is 'molting' only around her head you might have an aggression problem in your flock. Otherwise, someone is picking the feathers off her head. You will see this condition due to overcrowding, improper diet, or simply an over aggressive chicken/rooster. Monitor your flock and see who is being mean.

A normal molt lasts about six weeks and you should always see new feathers coming in.


This old gal is molting and you can see the tiny feathers sprouting. She was fine six weeks later.

Molting is a natural occurrence in birds, and though quite dramatic at times, will resolve by 6 - 8 weeks.


7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
Molting is indeed a natural occurrence but the time is all wrong except for those living in the Southern hemisphere. However a forced molt can be triggered at any time by certain actions or combination of actions.

Google "forced molt" to learn more then go over your chicken husbandry practices and see if anything jumps out at you.
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