The other day, Hattie lost her tail. I found it in the chicken coop. She didn’t seem to notice.
Welcome to molting season!
If you’ve never experienced a molting chicken, take heart. It’s an annual happening where chickens lose their old, worn out feathers and replace them with shiny new feathers in time for winter. In the process, they look a bit scruffy around the edges, or sometimes even almost naked.
New feathers eventually grow in and your hens be all shiny and fluffy before too long. The process can take up to two months (although you can sometimes speed it up a little by feeding them SMALL amounts of high protein snacks like shredded cheese or plain yogurt to hurry the process along a bit.)
You might also notice your egg production to be a bit sparse during molting. Laying eggs is too much work for them when they’re trying to produce a new crop of feathers. This is normal. They’ll eventually start laying again. They’ve worked hard all summer anyway, so taking a break seems only fair.
And in the meantime, their new look gives a ‘bad hair day’ a whole new meaning and gives you something new to be entertained with. Chickens seem to be a non-ending source of entertainment. Even when the jokes on them!