Amazing color-changing chicken?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Breac, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. Breac

    Breac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2010
    Wisconsin
    It's not exactly a 'behavior,' but since it doesn't seem to be an illness, I don't know where else to put this.

    I have a 4 year old RIR hen called Fred. In May of this year, Fred looked like this:

    [​IMG]

    Pretty normal, right? Well now, she looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    (A video showing her whole body is here:Half-White Fred )

    To be honest, I have never heard of anything like this. None of my other chickens, even the older ones, have turned colors like this. She has the same diet as everyone else and seems to be in very good health. Nonetheless, she started slowly changing colors when summer started and has been transforming white ever since. I've been saying I'll have a white chicken by Christmas.

    Does anyone know what could cause something like this? Is it just genetic? Do you think she'll stay that way? Insight or similar experiences would be super helpful.
     
  2. Animalian

    Animalian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2011
    Australia
    What the?!? that's amazing!

    Reminds me of my grandad. He had black hair till he was thirty, then it turned red, 15 years later it went brown but his beard stayed red.

    with your chicken could it be a deficiency of some sort? I'd think of it more as a loss or colour than a colour change.
     
  3. Animalian

    Animalian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2011
    Australia
    I just found this http://www.raising-chickens.org/feathers-changing-color-.html

    says
    it can be quite common for RIR's to get paler in winter.

    I also found this
    "Nutritional problems have been known to cause feather color changes. In addition to causing feather color changes, some
    nutritional deficiencies will also affect the quality of feathers during development. Color in the feathers is due to the presence
    of pigments in the feathers, mainly melanins, carotenoids and porphyrins. Melanin pigments are responsible for dull yellow,
    red-brown, brown and black colors. Carotenoids are obtained either directly or indirectly from plants and are responsible for
    some yellow, orange and red colors (yellow and red-factor canaries). Porphyrins are nitrogenous pigments derived from
    plants and are synthesized by birds. These are responsible for some red and green colors (in touracos, for example)."

    Also that RIR's normally get lighter as they age.... especially girls. Maybe your girl is an exteme case of this?
     
  4. Breac

    Breac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2010
    Wisconsin
    Quote:I wouldn't think it was a deficiency, since no one else is going white, plus I feed all my chickens the same thing- Store feed, corn in the winter, and scraps when I have them. She doesn't do or eat anything different from the rest of the flock, which is what makes it so puzzling.
     
  5. Breac

    Breac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2010
    Wisconsin
    Quote:Thanks for the link! Maybe that's why she always steals cat food, to get more protein?
     
  6. Fierlin1182

    Fierlin1182 powered-flight

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    Aug 26, 2011
    Wow, that's amazing! [​IMG]
    One of my hens went from red to speckled with white, but it wasn't near as intense as Fred! I have no idea what could be causing it.
     
  7. Animalian

    Animalian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2011
    Australia
    Quote:I wouldn't think it was a deficiency, since no one else is going white, plus I feed all my chickens the same thing- Store feed, corn in the winter, and scraps when I have them. She doesn't do or eat anything different from the rest of the flock, which is what makes it so puzzling.

    Even though they are the same species some individuals can have more trouble absorbing certain nutrients as opposed to others. Maybe she is eating less than she should even thought it appears that she is eating fine?
     
  8. rebel-rousing-at-night

    rebel-rousing-at-night Chillin' With My Peeps

    WOW! Fred is sure different! [​IMG]
     
  9. Breac

    Breac Chillin' With My Peeps

    213
    2
    121
    Apr 20, 2010
    Wisconsin
    Quote:I wouldn't think it was a deficiency, since no one else is going white, plus I feed all my chickens the same thing- Store feed, corn in the winter, and scraps when I have them. She doesn't do or eat anything different from the rest of the flock, which is what makes it so puzzling.

    Even though they are the same species some individuals can have more trouble absorbing certain nutrients as opposed to others. Maybe she is eating less than she should even thought it appears that she is eating fine?

    She kinda low on the chicken totem pole, but there's enough feed and space to hide and scratch that I wouldn't think there's a problem. I pick her up occasionally to inspect her more closely, and she's a very hefty girl. She's not fat, but she certainly isn't skinny either.
     
  10. danischi24

    danischi24 Loves naked pets

    Aug 17, 2008
    Australia
    This kind of thing does happen occasionally so don't be worried. Not sure what causes it though & yes, she will probably go all white but next molt, she may return to her original color or be mottled or stay white.
     

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