Change in comb/feather color

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by 4gifts4lisa, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. 4gifts4lisa

    4gifts4lisa New Egg

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    Dec 5, 2013
    Good evening, all! Lurker, but finally joining to get some assistance/thoughts.

    I am the proud mom of 6 hens: 2 rhode island reds, 2 barred rock and 2 leghorns. They are 8 months old and doing wonderfully! They are finishing up a molt, for the most part. I have been gone for two weeks (family cared for flock), and yesterday was the first time I have seen my birdies in 16 days. It was warmish when I left, but daytime temps have since dropped to 40's-50's in daytime and we have had a few nights of below freezing weather (20's). They free-range during the day and are in their coop at night (along with one .duck). It is a wooden coop, off the ground, top ventilation, hay inside, no heat lamp. Northern California.

    They all look great, but a leghorn has me confused. When I left, she had a large red comb, so large it flopped over. She now has a more "normal" size comb...it looks like my RIR or BR combs. It does not look like it was torn or anything...the top looks normal, just smaller. It is also not as deep a red...more pinkish. Also, her tail looks like it is missing some feathers, so I am thinking she is finishing a molt. I WOULD think she maybe had a run in with a critter, but no other "damage" on her. Also, some of her feathers are coming in more ivory than white. She is two toned!

    I am confused. I understand that frostbite can hurt the comb...could this be it? Should I be coating it with Vaseline? And I am really confused about the feather color!

    I have also read that the leghorns are not as tolerant of the cold. Could this be part of it?

    There are no neighbors around with chickens, so they did not get swapped and it is indeed the same chicken.

    Thank you for any help!

    Lisa
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Jul 24, 2013
    Is she laying? If she isn't this could be the reason why her comb is smaller and lighter. Or, she may be going to stop laying soon. I doubt that she has frostbite-- it would appear as white/purple/black tips, and wouldn't shrink the comb so quickly. Also, hens aren't very susceptible to frostbite, as they sleep with their heads beneath their wings and have smaller combs than roosters. Cold weather can also cause a comb to lose color. When cold weather hits, my birds' combs often get paler.


    As for the feather color, its probably nothing to worry about. New feathers growing in often seem to be a different color than the old, in my experience, but almost seem to change in coloration when they are all in. The feathers a bird grows into after molting can also actually be a different color. My white chickens' feathers were pure white before they molted, but the new ones aren't quite so sparkling, more of a white with a tint of yellow. Older birds tend to grow in yellower feathers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  3. 4gifts4lisa

    4gifts4lisa New Egg

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    Dec 5, 2013
    Thank you so much! I will watch her for eggs. She is one of only two who lay white eggs, so it' shouldn't be too difficult to narrow down. Goofy birds. I am surprised at how quickly I fell in love with them!
     

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