Inevitable Molt

Misty, the Andalusian hen, has finally succumbed to the inevitable yearly molt.



She looks like she’s in a Halloween costume. Perhaps a tattered witch? She’s not exactly happy about celebrating this season!

misty closeup


Twiggy has yet to admit that she must take a break. She did stop laying for a week, but started up again today.



She doesn’t want to talk about it, but she is molting. Those are new feathers unfurling on her neck.

Twiggy neck


She’s as worn-out looking as Misty. Twiggy could join Misty trick-or-treating as a moth-eaten ghost.


Are your hens getting into the spirit of the season? Do any costumes come to mind?


  1. I don’t have chickens, but I do have cats! My one fluffy cat had to go on antibiotics a couple of weeks ago and it gave her the runs. We had to cut off her butt skirt and part of the hair on her tail. It hasn’t grown back. She could go as a tatty witch’s familiar!

  2. So glad Twiggy is finally molting. I’ve worried that she will wear out too early without it. They are amusing to look at.

  3. Twiggys wattle and comb in last pic looks amazing, its a wonder she can see okay they are so big. Most of my Girls have finished their molt, except for Blackie one of my Magpies, she seems to be doing it one feather a time, at this rate she will still be molting in Spring !! Misty definitely looks unhappy and scary in the 2nd pic poor thing.
    My Grandkids have been collecting all the large wing and tail feathers from the Girls for weeks, they are using them to decorate their pumpkins and face masks for Halloween :)

  4. Oh dear – Misty looks downright miserable! Someone should tell Twiggy she needs to put her energy into growing new feathers, not laying eggs. Maybe she figures that a one week break is enough?
    I have two that started well over a month ago that are starting to look better, but still a bit scruffy-looking in spots. Both looked rumpless for a couple of weeks but the new tail feathers are starting to come in now.
    I read somewhere a while back (not sure where now) that mediocre layers often take longer to go through their moult. I wonder if there is a correlation: Both of them are just okay layers.

  5. Misty could go as Wolverine! She’s got the retractable claws (her featherless wing) and the “don’t mess with me” expression.

  6. I can’t believe Tiwggy kept going. I have a NHR who has always had a full large straight comb. Even through the molts. She is 3.5 yrs old and her comb has flopped. Is this a Concern? She is molting but otherwise healthy. I guess the comb will never go straight up again?

    • I’m always concerned when there is a change to the comb. If it remains bright red and plump, that’s good, even if the shape has changed. If not, worry. Then again, combs shrink in cold weather. It might be that she’s reacting to the change of seasons.

      • It had a purple spot a few weeks ago. But that has gone and its a nice red even while molting. Most of my ladies combs have turned pink and shrunk abut which is what I am used to seeing. Of course my red has a rather large comb. She seems to be doing ok but a tad withdrawn from her usual boisterous elf. She was the top of the pecking orider. But her and another hen seem to switch places every few weeks. So I am chalking it all up to the molt.

  7. I have a cuckoo maran that has laid throughout her molt. Can’t say I’ve ever had a hen lay through the molt.
    With the distinctive egg color its definitely hers.