Molting typically starts at the head with the tiniest of feathers and progresses systematically down the neck, the body, wings, then working its way to the tail. It can take weeks and during this time hens will decrease the amount of eggs they lay or stop laying eggs entirely. You see, eggs and feathers are made up of almost completely protein. Molting can be stressful. It can also be painful as the new feathers grow in. This year molting seems a bit earlier than usual here, but all hens over 1 year of age typically will molt annually in the fall.