13wk old pullets - faces darkening already?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by VA Raptor, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. VA Raptor

    VA Raptor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have several breeds of mostly pullets, all the same age. In the past few days, I've noticed their faces, incl. wattles and combs are starting to darken. The pullets have a long ways to go in terms of comb and wattle growth, it's just the color that's deepening. Some have turned pink, others are almost red.

    I thought this would happen closer when it's time to lay, and thought I read somewhere they might need a lower protein ration. Otherwise, everyone seems to look and act normal. I am feeding starter/grower crumbles, occasional treats, and whatever they dig up in their yard.

    So do I need to adjust their feed or it is normal for color change to precede comb and wattle development?
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Hello there! The answer is no, in my opinion. What I do, is keep them on the starter/grower until 17 weeks. Then I switch them to layer fed. (Of course, don't waste any food--use up your grower even if they have it for a bit longer than 17 weeks.)

    A sure sign that eggs are coming soon, is when you reach out to touch one of your pullets,and they make this very rigid squatting pose. Once they start squatting, you can expect eggs within a week or two.

    Oh, that first egg is so exciting! :)

    It's like getting a present!
     
  3. VA Raptor

    VA Raptor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So guess red faces aren't a problem?

    The whole story is it's time to buy more feed, which is why I was agonizing if the 18% grower is too much protein (I didn't ask that directly, but that's what was going through my mind). I'll pick up another 100#s.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I like to feed an 'all flock' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders.

    Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat and have calcium available at all times for the layers, oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer.


    The coloring faces, not necessarily because they are close to lay just getting older. I noticed mine pullets would get redder then pale out again sometimes over the course of 20 minutes. Are the cockerels redder than the pullets?
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I also feed everyone a higher protien feed. I don't think it's that the laying hens should have the lower protein, it's that they can get by with the lower amount, and the lower is usually cheaper. My birds are quite productive on the 18-20% feed.

    Any changes in weather recently? Just wondering if it got cold suddenly, could the color change simply be increased blood flow for warmth? Do you have pics?
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
  6. VA Raptor

    VA Raptor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought the higher protein was a problem for laying hens, and actually went to a lower protein crumble due to the hen in the mix (she does get oyster shells). [​IMG]

    The weather has been irratic. Also, Forgot to mention I recently started offering sunflower seeds. So maybe those are possibilities. I don't think Southern States has an all-flock feed, but I'll check out their other stuff and see if I can find something better.
     
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Try no to over think it and worry to much over it. Keep feeding them their starter/grower or an all-flock type feed until they start to lay. They are growing and maturing so the slightly higher protein in those feeds is good for them. It is also normal for pullets this age to show some color in their faces as they mature. When they finally do reach point-of-lay then they will really be quite red.
     
  8. VA Raptor

    VA Raptor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At least one of the comets and possibly one Marans is starting to squat, but both look like they still have a ways to go in terms of comb development!!

    No way has it been a month since I started "Project Egg Watch". Hope I can procrastinate on putting in the nest boxes. It's taking a while to shake this flu....
     

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