Chicken changing colour?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Clucky12, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. Clucky12

    Clucky12 Out Of The Brooder

    66
    0
    39
    Apr 11, 2014
    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??
     
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    14,421
    4,747
    456
    Jan 10, 2013
    Macon,GA
  3. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

    4,905
    588
    286
    Apr 8, 2013
    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.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    14,421
    4,747
    456
    Jan 10, 2013
    Macon,GA

    [​IMG] 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[​IMG]
     
  5. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

    4,905
    588
    286
    Apr 8, 2013
    Australia
    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.
     
  6. Clucky12

    Clucky12 Out Of The Brooder

    66
    0
    39
    Apr 11, 2014
    Germany
    thank you all!! [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  7. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    14,421
    4,747
    456
    Jan 10, 2013
    Macon,GA
    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.
     
  8. ThePRfan

    ThePRfan Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,194
    28
    121
    Sep 27, 2014
    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!
     
  9. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

    4,905
    588
    286
    Apr 8, 2013
    Australia
    You're welcome. :D

     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by