It doesn’t matter how many times I see it, I am always captivated by the growth of new feathers after one of the hens has moulted.
Because of the way we keep our chickens, we are happy to let them express natural behaviour (digging, dust-bathing, rooting about in leaf litter, going off-lay for a while etc) and still remain with us. Yes, we keep our old, non-layers, but then we consider that they do a range of jobs for us, not just egg production.
Tiffany stopped laying two or three weeks ago, lost huge numbers of feathers, and is now well on the way to having a lovely new set on her back, neck and wings, plus an entirely new tail. We collect the feathers where possible and they go on the compost heap. Hopefully she will start laying again in a few weeks, but if not, we’re getting an egg each every day from Mags and Aliss, our new girls.
I am a very happy chicken-keeper right now.