3 Issues - Can they all be related? All comments welcome!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Coach P, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. Coach P

    Coach P Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 27, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    I have 7 Isa Browns. I got them at 13 weeks. They all started laying in May, within a 2 week period of each other, so I put their hatch date at approx. Jan 1st and guess them to be 10 months old now.


    1. difference in comb size and color
    3 of my girls have large red beautiful combs. 3 others have tiny combs that just didn't continue to grow, and they are pink - not the vibrant red of the first 3. The 7th has a comb in between the tiny and the large.
    These pics show one of my big comb girls, and two of the little comb girls.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]



    2. quit laying
    They layed like machines all summer, then, the week after Labor day weekend, (early Sept.) they all stopped at once. Then early Oct, one started to lay occasionally. She is now laying pretty much everyday, and 2 others will lay once or twice a week. 4 don't lay anymore at all.

    3. molting at young age
    After they stopped laying, in late September, most of them began losing a lot of small downy feathers. I began noticing missing neck and tail feathers. At that time, they were not even 9 months old. Isn't this way too early to molt?


    I have read that the molting can make them stop laying, but I don't understand why they are molting at such a young age. There was no traumatic event that I know of. They eat very well..... In fact, they seem to always be starving. They range over 3 acres all day everyday, and we feed them layer pellets every evening. They attack the food and don't stop until it's all gone.

    Also, could there be something wrong that's making 4 of them have such small and pale combs in comparison to the other 3?
    Would that affect the egg laying? I know my regular layer, is one with the large comb, but I can't say for sure who the other two layers are right now.

    Am I not feeding them enough if they seems to always be starving? Could this affect laying and comb size?
    None of them act sick. They are all very active. I see no worms.

    I can't help but wonder if all of this is related somehow.
    thanks!
    Coach P.
     
  2. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    1. Some chickens, especially ones of different breeds, are going to have smaller combs than others, no worries on that!

    2. When chickens molt, it stresses out their bodies and they don't lay, perfectly normal.

    3. Even though people say chickens molt at 18 months, it's not true. Chickens molt at different ages, but only right before winter (late summer and/or fall). Yours may be at that age where they need to get a warmer "coat" of feathers for winter, because they are too old to make it through the winter on their current one. Once again, no worries!


    Sounds like you have a normal, healthy flock [​IMG]
     
  3. Coach P

    Coach P Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 27, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    Thanks for the quick reply.

    I thought I had seen several posts here on early molting but the "expert" book says they are too young. I was led to believe the only reason this would happen was because of some kind of stress.

    I had a whole different flock of Isa's last year and they all pretty much had the same sized combs so I was getting a little worried that my girls might be undernourished.

    Is it normal for them to seem to always be starving? They literally come running every time one of us steps outside because they think we might have food for them!!
     
  4. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    I wouldn't worry about the molting, stress can induce a molt, but not from disease--just lack of food, water, and sunlight. It's normal for chickens to come running out whenever they think you have food. Ours do that all the time [​IMG]
     
  5. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jones County, Georgia

    IMO it definitely sounds like you aren't feeding them enough so yes, they probably are starving. Egg production takes a lot of energy and a lot of nutrients, most folks offer unlimited layer pellets 24/7 (plus many also give table scraps or corn in the winter before bedtime).

    If you are trying to save money by only feeding them once in the evening, and even then not letting them eat their fill, you will pay for it in egg production and likely with heath problems especially with winter coming. I would be extra concerned if they are molting, they need plenty of protein/good nutrition to grow the new feathers that will keep them alive over the winter.

    I would offer them unlimited layer pellets and also think about possibly adding some dry cat food or other protein rich food to help their growing feathers. They will still forage a great deal, mine spend most of the day scratching and looking for tidbits in the grass despite the fact they have a full dish of food.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
  6. 24279102

    24279102 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens are motivated by food 24/7 ! If they even see me thinking of coming out of the house they come running! I have lay pellets available to mine all the time and then they get extras like scratch and table scraps. Mine free range all day but there are not as many bugs and insects available now and I notice that they are eating more pellets now that winter is on its way. Perhaps yours are hungry for this reason.
     
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  7. Coach P

    Coach P Out Of The Brooder

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    Nashville, TN
    It's not about money. I would never sacrifice their health to save money.
    Again, the "book" I bought that is supposed to tell me everything I need to know about raising chickens says: A fat chicken doesn't lay eggs, so I've been afraid to overfeed them.
    Since they range all day long, I assumed the pellet food I give them before bed was "extra".

    I will definitely up the feed.

    thanks!
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Coach P

    Coach P Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 27, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    I filled their feeder this am with 3 times the amount I give them each evening.
    When I went back out to check, there was still about 1/3 left.

    Apparently, to let them eat to their fill, I needed to be giving them twice what I was giving them.

    I will definitely start keeping the feeder full.
    Thanks!
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Once they "catch up" on food they won't gorge especially if they can free range for entertainment. Mine aren't that crazy about layer pellets, they all eat them but they only gorge on the table scraps/extras.

    Personally I think the fat chicken thing may come from birds confined to small runs with nothing to do all day but eat.
     
  10. Coach P

    Coach P Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 27, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    I have to say.... subscribing to this site has been more helpful than anything I've gotten from books!

    [​IMG]
     

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