Chick growing feathers at much slower rate


10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
I have several chicks in the brooder right now, and one of my RIR's seems to be developing feathers much slower than the others. It's around the same size as the other chicks, but while the other RIR's have two or three rows of wing feathers and tail feathers poking through, this little gal (or so I'm hoping
) has only one row of feathers, no tail feathers to speak of, and still has a lot of her chick fuzz. What could cause this? She seems happy and healthy. They are all just over a week old, on medicated chick starter.


10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
Thanks for the replies! But, oh, drat!
I was really hoping that wasn't it......

I've never had a roo before
He shouldn't start exhibiting...err...'rooster behavior' for several months at least, should he? I've heard most roosters are very ill-mannered, is this true? I don't want anyone getting hurt by him if I can't get rid of him for a while


Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
12 Years
Nov 9, 2007
SW Arkansas
Quote:No, not all roosters are ill-mannered. I wouldn't take a million dollars for my Thor (well, okay maybe a million). He's very protective of the hens without being a bully and he knows I'm the boss and steps out of my way when he sees me coming. Mating behavior is probably several months off for your little boy (if indeed he is a boy). The crowing can start at any time, a couple days old to a year or more old.


11 Years
Apr 6, 2008
Richmond, VA
Feathering is how I sex most of my chicks. Little girls will have tail feathers in less than a week. I have other feather sexing tricks too but you have to start at one day old! Sounds like you have a lil roo there.


10 Years
Mar 15, 2009
We got 15 chicks last November that are RIR roo over a White Leghorn hen, sort of a reverse Golden Comet, and the girls feathered out about twice as fast as the boys.

HOWEVER, one we thought was a boy because it feathered out even slower than the other boys, turned out to be a hen. We were sure it was a roo for a while, but while the boys were getting huge and crowing like mad, Bonsai took on all hen behavior and she doesn't even have a comb as big as the rest of the ladies. She is pretty much the runt of the hatch, a bit smaller than the rest, but a real sweetie.

So it's not necessarily a roo, could just be a slow-featherer. Keeping my fingers crossed for you that it is. If not, though, roos can be quite sweet, it's all individual. And some hens can be really mean!


12 Years
May 8, 2008
North Carolina
Quote:Imagine my horror when 2 of my 6 "pullets" turned out to be roos last Spring. One had to go almost immediately after he started crowing because he was too aggressive for my banty girls. I started trying to find the 2nd one a home, with no luck, but then I learned that I had to judge each by his own actions. Here it is 10 months later and that 2nd roo is still with us.... and I ADORE him!
He's even in my avatar.


10 Years
Feb 25, 2009
Vancouver, WA
I have to say that one of my males is the biggest, most feathered chick (mine are six weeks old) and the other is the most delayed. The girls (11 for sure and two that I'm still figuring out) are all feathering at different rates. I would say it doesn't mean it's a boy for sure, though I have definitely read that it can be an indicator. I just think it varies a lot from case to case. You can at least hold out hope!

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