How Many Feathers Does a Chicken Have?

As a backyard chicken owner, there are a lot of things you may wonder about your chickens. One of them is how many feathers does a chicken have. Some may think they have hundreds and some say thousands. So, exactly how many feathers do chickens really have?

Chickens have about 10,000 feathers on their bodies. However, that number is just an average. Depending on the breed of chicken and its age, the number of feathers can vary greatly.

What Types of Feathers Do Chickens Have?

Contour Feathers

A chicken has more than 7,000 contour feathers, which vary in size from 3 to 10 inches long. A chicken’s wings have more feathers than its tail and body combined. The largest contour feather is called a primary flight feather and is located near the tip of each wing. It consists of an upper shaft (rachis) with a vane at each end (branch). The vane consists of barbs that bear barbules, which give strength to the feather when it is in flight.

Down Feathers

Down feathers are the softest, lightest, and most insulating feathers on a chicken’s body. They are found closest to the skin and are covered by smaller, stiffer contour (outer) feathers.

The down layer is the first line of defense against cold weather for your chickens. It also makes them look fluffy and adorable!

Down feathers are extremely soft, lightweight, and fluffy. Their fluffiness is what makes them so good at keeping you warm when it’s cold outside. The more down there is in a blanket or duvet, the more effective it will be at keeping you warm.

The down layer is also important for insulation because it traps air between its fibers, which helps keep heat in your home or car from escaping into the atmosphere around you.

Hackle Feathers

Hackle feathers are the long feathers that come from the back of a rooster and are used in fly-tying. They are stiff, strong, and durable. Hackle feathers come in a variety of colors, but the most common is red.


A chicken also has between 2,500 and 7,000 coverts — small feathers that cover the base of larger contour feathers. Coverts are smaller than contour feathers but larger than downlike underdownings (see below). They grow from a short stem called an axillary bud beneath each large feather follicle.

How Are Chickens Plucked in Factories?

The process of removing the feathers from a chicken is called plucking. The feathers are removed for several reasons: to make the chicken more comfortable, so that it doesn’t get scratched and infected, and because it makes the meat look nicer.

The process is done by hand and consists of pulling out each feather individually. The person doing this has to be very careful not to cut the skin or break any bones in the process. It takes about 10 seconds for one person to remove all of the feathers on a single chicken.

Plucking is done at an extremely high rate in factories. Thousands of chickens are plucked at once and processed quickly before being put into crates or cages and shipped out to grocery stores or restaurants.

There are machines that can do it faster than humans, but they’re expensive so most companies don’t use them except when they need to speed things up during busy times like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Do Chicken Feathers Grow Back?

The answer is yes, chicken feathers grow back. Chicken feathers are part of the bird’s integumentary system, which is made up of skin, hair, and feathers. The integumentary system also includes other structures like scales and nails.

Chicken feathers actually have a very important role to play in protecting the bird from diseases and parasites. They also provide insulation for the bird’s body. But how do they grow back?

The growth process of the chicken feather is called molting. Molting involves shedding old feathers and replacing them with new ones. When a chicken molts, it doesn’t lose its original feather color or texture but rather just sheds its old ones to make way for new ones that are coming in behind them. This process generally takes place every year during spring or summer when temperatures start getting warmer again after winter has passed by.

What Are Chicken Feathers Used For?

Chicken feathers can be used in many ways. They can be fed to chickens or other animals, used as bedding for animals, or composted. Feathers that are not composted can be used to make pillows, quilts, and comforters for humans. People also use them to stuff toys or make clothing out of them.

When using feathers for any purpose other than feeding chickens, it’s important to make sure they are clean and free of manure or other contaminants before using them in any way. If they aren’t cleaned thoroughly enough, they may become infected with bacteria or parasites that could cause disease or illness in humans or other animals that come in contact with them after they have been used.

Which Chicken Breed Has Fluffy Feathers?

There are many types of chickens, each one with its own unique qualities. Some has fluffy feathers, while others don’t.

The following breeds of chickens have especially soft and fluffy feathers:

Easter Egger – This is one of the most popular breeds in the United States due to its friendly nature, excellent egg production, and beautiful coloring. The Easter Egger has blue-green feathers with light brown spots or stripes on their backs and wings. Their legs are usually pink in coloration. The hens typically weigh about 6 pounds (2.7 kg) while the roosters tend to reach 8 pounds (3 kg) or more in weight. These birds lay eggs with dark brown shells every day from spring through fall, but they stop laying during the winter months when days are shorter and temperatures are colder.

Leghorn – This is another popular breed because it produces large white eggs at a very fast rate each year without any problems from predators or diseases that might affect other types of chickens such as lice or mites infestations which can reduce egg production over time if left untreated by owners who don’t know how to

Buff Orpington – These chickens are great layers and they lay brown eggs. They also have dark brown eyes and yellow legs.

Cochin – These birds are very popular because they have beautiful plumage and lay white eggs. They have a crest on their head that curls up at the tip. They also have a small eye ring around their eyes (around 1/4 inch in diameter) and bushy tails that curl over their backs when they walk or run around freely outside in their coops or pens during the daytime when it isn’t too hot outside yet! Cochins also come in different colors such as red, black, blue, white, buff (yellow), gold (light brown), silver-laced (white with silver stripes down the back), and partridge.

Silkies – The Silkie is a breed of chicken with fluffy feathers that originated from China. It has a black face and legs, yellow skin, and a very soft downy coat of black-tipped feathers. It’s one of the oldest known egg-laying breeds and is thought to be one of the first domestic fowls in existence. The name “Silkie” comes from its silk-like plumage.

Polish – The Polish chicken is another breed that has a fluffier coat than most other chickens. Its feathers are not as long and feathery as those belonging to the Silkie but they do have an extra layer of downy fluffiness underneath them which makes them look soft and fluffy when they are touched or petted!


As you can see, how many feathers a chicken has will depend on its breed. On average, for most breeds, you should expect about 10,000 feathers for each chicken.