Chicken changing colour?

Clucky12

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 11, 2014
66
0
39
Germany
Hi, I have a silkie bantam chicken called Fluff, who is usually light brown, but has recently been getting some black tufts instead of brown ones. She is now about a quarter black.
Also, this has happened with my light Sussex chicken, Seagull. She has stayed white on her back, but is now browny-orange all over her back. What could have caused this??
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,902
678
296
Australia
Better nutrition. Means you're doing better by the chook than her previous owners, or at the very least her mother, could.

Incomplete nutrition has a knock on effect which afflicts generations, particularly through the female line as the mothers have to supply virtually all the materials the offspring are built of. Too many breeders give the hens enough for themselves and not enough for their babies as well, so offspring hatch with deficiency diseases if they hatch at all.

It takes generations of malnutrition to cause a serious impact which then takes generations of complete nutrition to erase from the family line. It can take a few generations of having them on a great diet to cause them to show their true colors, but generally even older adults will, in my experience, change color within a year to whatever they would have looked like if they'd had sufficient nutrition.

Old example now, mentioned this one a few times, but here you go in case you haven't heard: one of the most drastic color-change examples I ever had, in response to better nutrition, was in two White Leghorn hens, who were two years old, two-a-day layers when I got them. They had white skin, feathers, legs, beaks, claws, eggshells, pale irises, etc. They were either show quality or very close to it. After a year of being on the diet I give my chooks, these hens were no longer pure white, they had yellow beaks and legs and claws, with streaks of black in them, orange to red irises, black and red feathers mixed in among white and fawn feathers, and their eggshells were brown.

Once onto a better diet, the animal responds by chucking out inferior cells built on inferior nutrition and replacing them with superior cells built on superior nutrition; this often involves lessening of production or even a complete but temporary stop, a moult and a detox, but they will come out of it looking vibrantly healthy and live for longer not to mention produce superior product, whether it's offspring or eggs or meat. Their offspring will, over the generations, continue to improve on overall health and demonstrating their true type.

Just goes to show, you don't know what you're really breeding if you don't give them a properly nutritious diet. Commercial layer mash or pellets generally just does not cut it, they're mere survival rations in almost all cases, even though they're labeled 'complete'.

I've had other hens and other animals change color too, nutrition governs color in all species... A light sussex hen developed red feathers in a few places, etc, there's other examples too.

Best wishes.
 

sunflour

Flock Master
8 Years
Jan 10, 2013
14,974
7,756
772
Macon,GA
Better nutrition. Means you're doing better by the chook than her previous owners, or at the very least her mother, could.

Incomplete nutrition has a knock on effect which afflicts generations, particularly through the female line as the mothers have to supply virtually all the materials the offspring are built of. Too many breeders give the hens enough for themselves and not enough for their babies as well, so offspring hatch with deficiency diseases if they hatch at all.

It takes generations of malnutrition to cause a serious impact which then takes generations of complete nutrition to erase from the family line. It can take a few generations of having them on a great diet to cause them to show their true colors, but generally even older adults will, in my experience, change color within a year to whatever they would have looked like if they'd had sufficient nutrition.

Old example now, mentioned this one a few times, but here you go in case you haven't heard: one of the most drastic color-change examples I ever had, in response to better nutrition, was in two White Leghorn hens, who were two years old, two-a-day layers when I got them. They had white skin, feathers, legs, beaks, claws, eggshells, pale irises, etc. They were either show quality or very close to it. After a year of being on the diet I give my chooks, these hens were no longer pure white, they had yellow beaks and legs and claws, with streaks of black in them, orange to red irises, black and red feathers mixed in among white and fawn feathers, and their eggshells were brown.

Once onto a better diet, the animal responds by chucking out inferior cells built on inferior nutrition and replacing them with superior cells built on superior nutrition; this often involves lessening of production or even a complete but temporary stop, a moult and a detox, but they will come out of it looking vibrantly healthy and live for longer not to mention produce superior product, whether it's offspring or eggs or meat. Their offspring will, over the generations, continue to improve on overall health and demonstrating their true type.

Just goes to show, you don't know what you're really breeding if you don't give them a properly nutritious diet. Commercial layer mash or pellets generally just does not cut it, they're mere survival rations in almost all cases, even though they're labeled 'complete'.

I've had other hens and other animals change color too, nutrition governs color in all species... A light sussex hen developed red feathers in a few places, etc, there's other examples too.

Best wishes.


thumbsup.gif
Thank you for an answer. I have 3 hens, bought as barred rocks at 3 days old and now are 19 months. Could not understand why all 3 are changing from black and white to in areas to black and gold in their first molt. Now I can just enjoy their new colors and be happy. Mine do get lots of nutritional treats… cooked eggs, cooked meat, bugs, mealy worms, green leafy plants and melons, raisins.

Just wish this was an answer to change human graying hair back to original genetic color, but don't think I could eat a bug
gig.gif
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,902
678
296
Australia
thumbsup.gif
Thank you for an answer. I have 3 hens, bought as barred rocks at 3 days old and now are 19 months. Could not understand why all 3 are changing from black and white to in areas to black and gold in their first molt. Now I can just enjoy their new colors and be happy. Mine do get lots of nutritional treats… cooked eggs, cooked meat, bugs, mealy worms, green leafy plants and melons, raisins.

Just wish this was an answer to change human graying hair back to original genetic color, but don't think I could eat a bug
gig.gif
You're welcome. :)

About changing hair back to its original color, kelp will indeed do that for some people. ;) I suspect it's probably more applicable to cases where pigmentation was lost due to stress, insufficient nutrition, disease, or any other cause than someone in true health reaching a very ripe age.

Never know till you try it for about a year. Since kelp is high in iodine and other nutrients, and the World Health Organization states that iodine insufficiency is a global epidemic (both a 'first world' and 'third world' problem), and that lack of iodine can drop your IQ by around 16 points as well as cause a whole host of other serious problems... May well be worth getting some kelp into your diet.

I know when I include it, I have this strange sense of it being 'real food', just in terms of how it feels. Very hard to explain, and I've always felt that way, long before I learned anything about what kelp can do for you. It just feels like, well, I guess it's how getting a previously unmet nutritional need answered feels.

Best wishes.
 

sunflour

Flock Master
8 Years
Jan 10, 2013
14,974
7,756
772
Macon,GA
You're welcome. :)

About changing hair back to its original color, kelp will indeed do that for some people. ;) I suspect it's probably more applicable to cases where pigmentation was lost due to stress, insufficient nutrition, disease, or any other cause than someone in true health reaching a very ripe age.

Never know till you try it for about a year. Since kelp is high in iodine and other nutrients, and the World Health Organization states that iodine insufficiency is a global epidemic (both a 'first world' and 'third world' problem), and that lack of iodine can drop your IQ by around 16 points as well as cause a whole host of other serious problems... May well be worth getting some kelp into your diet.

I know when I include it, I have this strange sense of it being 'real food', just in terms of how it feels. Very hard to explain, and I've always felt that way, long before I learned anything about what kelp can do for you. It just feels like, well, I guess it's how getting a previously unmet nutritional need answered feels.

Best wishes.
Don't think I would like kelp. But will look into that.

I totally agree with the iodine and other nutrient & vitamin deficiency epidemic. I think it is is because of farm raised fish, overuse of non-iodized salts, and GMO issues in our food sources.

In USA, the majority of people here eat out way too often ,don't' grow their own vegetables, buy processed foods, and are not educated on the perils of not paying attention to nutrition & don't' pay attention to the sources of their food.

I feed my chickens healthier diets than most people select.
 

ThePRfan

Songster
5 Years
Sep 27, 2014
1,194
32
121
Have they molted?How old are they?If you got them as a chick from a hatchery,you possibly got a mix,or another breed.If they molted it may be just new feathering.My hens always get darker shades of grey or something.Not all molted.Most times new "Pecking"feathers that were once pulled,are then growing back turning into a darker color.either that or,your hen could be sick.Hope not,she could have something more in her blood line.If you hatched her and mix your chickens together as a flock,your never gonna get a real blooded breed,maybe 1 in 3 tries.Good luck!
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,902
678
296
Australia
thank you all!!
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You're welcome. :D

Don't think I would like kelp. But will look into that.

Most people don't like the flavor, but I don't mind it. Can be used in soups, stews, sandwiches, etc, it's not an overpowering flavor so even those who hate it will eat the food and not taste it, if it's overall a tasty meal. ;) You can also get it in pills, powder inside capsules (so you don't have to taste it) etc.

Stinging nettle is another great source of iodine, besides hemp it's one of the most nutritious land plants, high in iron, cal-mag, omegas, and a whole bunch of other nutrients. Also not a flavor some like, but different family lines have very different flavors, from almost iron-metallic to sweetish and 'green' (if you know what sort of flavor I'm attempting to describe there, lol... Just a light, fresh 'greenery' taste).

Nettle is also easily used in various forms and in various meals, but unlike kelp you can grow your own, and unlike kelp randomized pollution is not as strong a likelihood. It will of course be influenced by the health of the soil.

I don't think a stew is a stew anymore without nettle in it. Works as a good border to keep chooks out of gardens and dried and added to their food will also benefit them greatly. Not sure if it's been recorded as having the same influence on hair color as kelp though, not to my knowledge anyway.

I totally agree with the iodine and other nutrient & vitamin deficiency epidemic. I think it is is because of farm raised fish, overuse of non-iodized salts, and GMO issues in our food sources.

Not to mention the prevalence of goitrogens in our diets, and our animals' diets, and the endocrine disruptors altering how our thyroid etc functions.

In USA, the majority of people here eat out way too often ,don't' grow their own vegetables, buy processed foods, and are not educated on the perils of not paying attention to nutrition & don't' pay attention to the sources of their food.

I feed my chickens healthier diets than most people select.

I feed my chooks a better diet than my own on average, as well, lol... But people tend to come sniffing when I make up the chook food, they think it smells wonderful and are always for some reason aghast at the idea that chickens should have a delicious smelling meal, but they tend to glaze over when I tell them the sources of the lovely aromas.

It's just plain healthy stuff we should all be eating, generally. But they prefer pre-processed meals despite craving the source of the smells in the chook feeds I mix. One of the main smells that brings them running is anything containing natural vitamin E ---- wheat bran, olive oil, etc. I've met so many people ravenously desperate for good oils in their diet, often with the attendant diseases caused by lack of good oils in the diet, who still won't make the effort to include raw or good oils in their diet because... Just because, really. No coherently logical or solid reason they've ever given. I don't get it.

Best wishes.
 
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