Do Pheasants Molts? (Explained)

by Chukay Alex
Updated on

Pheasants molt once a year, usually after the breeding season has finished. Males often go into the molt once their hen has started to incubate their own eggs; molting males are often infertile and can often be less aggressive to their hens and chicks.

Perhaps this is nature’s way of providing some protection for young chicks that their own father might otherwise attack.

Hens that have incubated their eggs seem to start their molt once the chicks are about two or three weeks old.

What Is Molting?

Do Pheasants Molts

Molting is the process by which birds shed and renew their feathers.

During the molting period, the bird’s reproductive function is completely shut down, and the bird’s body supplies of nutrients are replenished. 

Birds, like many other animals, undergo a period of molting each year during the summer months. Molting occurs in a pretty predictable sequence. 

Feathers are restricted to specific tracts or sections of the body’s surface, separated by exposed patches of skin.

As a result, the head and neck lose their plumage first, followed by the saddle, breast, and abdomen (body), followed by the wings and tail.

The emergence of new feathers is a natural process that preserves the birds’ ability to survive and protect themselves.

Molting happens once a year in adult birds under natural conditions, while it may occur twice in one year in certain individuals and just once every two years in others.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on do pheasants make good pets

Why Do Pheasants Molt?

When birds molt, it can be a challenging period for them.

Because they molt in the wild when a plentiful and diverse supply of food is available, comparable help should be provided to captive pheasants.

In addition, protein is required for the creation of new feathers.

Intake of other nutritious food like soft fruit, green food, and insects can be pretty beneficial to the birds during this time, but various birds within the same species may have quite diverse preferences.

A poor diet while the pheasants’ molt can cause feather barring or color change, which will last until the following year’s molt. 

Do Pheasants Regrow Tail Feathers?

Yes, and quite rapidly as well. Depending on the bird’s condition, regeneration of its tail feathers may take only a few weeks.

I should emphasize that rapid regrowth occurs only when a feather is removed; the situation is reversed if the feather is fractured or damaged. 

If your pheasant’s feather is broken and it doesn’t fall out, your bird will have to wait for the next molting phase to replace it.

Do Pheasants Have Feathers?

Pheasants are covered in feathers. There are fifty-five species of pheasants worldwide, practically all of which are found in Asia.

One of the fascinating aspects of these enormous birds is that the males of each species develop at least four distinct types of feathers.

And half of males and females develop feathers that are entirely different in color and pattern.

What Time of Year Do Pheasants Molt?

Unless stimulated by lights, the majority will molt at the end of the breeding season.

August is the optimum season for bird molting; the weather is warmest, providing the ideal conditions for this process to occur.

They will become too cold without their insulating feathers if they go later or earlier in the year. 

Also check out this article on feeding pheasants potatoes

How Can You Tell If A Pheasant Is Molting?

If you see feather loss in your pheasants but do not witness him plucking, he may be going through a natural process called molting.

Old feathers deteriorate and must be changed on a regular basis. As a result, your bird’s old feathers will fall out and be replaced by new ones.

As a result, your pheasants might become itchy and groom more frequently; however, that doesn’t mean they should lose all their feathers at once. 

All birds molt symmetrically, which means that any feathers shed on one side of the body will be cleared on the opposite side.

This enables them to fly in a balanced manner. Outdoor birds may complete their molt within a month.

However, interior birds may take an entire year. If you see an abnormal quantity of feather loss or patchy feather loss, your pheasants may be plucking them.

Do Pheasants Lay Eggs When Molting?

During molt, hens often cease egg production. The feather shedding process can take up to 16 weeks to complete and has the potential to reduce your birds’ egg output significantly.

When hens molt, a large portion of their energy is utilized to regrow feathers, leaving less energy for egg production.

How Do You Treat Molting In Pheasants?

While molting is important, it does carry some risks, particularly in nature. For example, birds are helpless and have difficulty locating food while molting.

Additionally, they require additional sustenance due to the energy-draining nature of molting.

Reduced feathers result in increased heat loss and depleted energy reserves. Flight is also more difficult or constrained. 

Birds adapt to this vulnerability by sheltering for an extended period of time during the day.

So ensure you pay special attention to your birds when they are moulting. There are three basic steps to follow:

  • Supplement your pet’s nutrition. Nutrition is critical for completing the molting cycle, and a balanced diet can help lessen the amount of time your birds spend in molt. In addition, sustaining a suitable protein and amino acid balance in your birds’ diets can significantly raise their energy levels.
  • Provide additional rest for your bird. While we like playing and communicating with our birds, providing them with more space and time to recover during molting is critical. In addition, a bird-cage cover can assist your bird in obtaining additional shut-eye.
  • Provide bathing chances for your bird. Of course, this is true throughout the year, but birds like bathing during molting season. After all, we would feel the same way if we spent days pulling feathers from our skin. 


Quails do molt just like every other bird. It is an energy-draining period for these birds, so it’s essential to make provisions for them.

Each molt results in new colorful feathers. Keep in mind that hens do lay during this period, and also, note the time of their molting season so that you can be better prepared for it.

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About the author

Chukay Alex

Chukay is a season writer and farmer who enjoys farming and growing plants in his backyard farm. When he is not farming you can find him at the nearest lawn tennis court, hitting a mean backhand down the line.


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