If you have chickens, you are going to experience what it’s like when they molt.
You will need to be prepared for two main reasons. One: it might look like a crime scene when you happen upon it. Two: It will look like you have imposter chickens in place of your loved ones.
One of the first times Chloe started molting, I slightly panicked. Feathers were all over the coop and my initial taught was that a predator had gotten in during the night. My eyes darted around to find a super sad looking Chloe missing an enormous amount of feathers. As you can see in the pictures below, she was looking rough. And I mean do ROUGH. You could see patches of her bare skin resembling butcher counter chicken (Yikes! I know.) and sharp looking feathers poking through.
It kind of makes your back hurt doesn’t it? It hurts the hens a little, too. This is molting. Molting happens in chickens when the days get shorter and there is less light. Typically, it is nothing to worry about (once you realize what is happening). Chloe was losing her old feathers in order to grow new ones. When the new feathers grow in they have a coating around them which are the little spikes you see in the pictures above. The coating eventually falls off and your chicken will return to looking like her old self. During the molting phase, hens stop producing eggs in order to focus on feather production. They will need more protein (and love!) at this time in order to grow their new outfits.
Chloe looked pretty rough and seemed to be a little bit irritated by her chicken sisters while she was molting. However, she is just as gorgeous as ever with her new set of feathers and seems to be back to her happy hen self now!