cockerel/rooster tail feathers still in casing, and leg colour

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by fishdaughter, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. fishdaughter

    fishdaughter Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello folks, I'm wondering what is going on with my cockerel's tail feathers. Most of them still seem to be in their 'casing'...is it because he's not preening properly? I've not seen this happen before and although he seems healthy and alert, he looks a mess!! Also, his legs looks silvery...I first noticed this a few months ago and I now don't know if they've always been silvery, or if they've changed. He's less than 2 years old...maybe they change colour as they mature? They haven't changed in texture since I noticed the colour...they are a little scaly I guess, but not excessively and it's not increasingly worsening. He was given to me by a neighbour who had too many cocks, and roosts high in a tree and is pretty wild so any hope of catching him could take days and I think he'd fly off as his wings aren't clipped. When it rains he goes in the coop with the girls but mostly he's out in the woods and joins his girls in the morning. He's not aggressive...but then again I've not tried to catch him to test his temper..... Any advice, suggestions etc would be most appreciated.

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  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    His tail feathers look like that because he's probably molting and those are new feathers.

    It's possible he may have parasites. If you could post a close-up shot of his legs and feet, it would be a help. If he has leg mites, it can't hurt to paint the legs and feet with castor oil. That will smother the leg mites if he has them.

    If he roosts at night in the coop, you can easily take him from the perch and treat him. While you have him, check around his vent for lice or mites. You may see tiny specks moving on his skin. If you see those, you will need to treat his feathers with a permethrin dusting powder or Elector PSP.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    I see some raised scales on legs close to feet...so yes probably scaly leg mite.
    Yes, that's an unpreened feather sheath.
    Nice looking bird.
     
  4. fishdaughter

    fishdaughter Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 30, 2016
    Thanks for your reply azygous.
    He finished molting about 2 months ago, which is why I was wondering what was going on with his new feathers. Coud parasites be causing this, if it's not poor preening methods?
    He roosts high up in a tree and joins his ladies in the morning. I've no idea how to catch him to treat his possible scaly leg mite and any other parasites he may have. The three hens seem totally fine and in good condition. If he roosts in a tree, how will he have caught scaly leg mites...any idea? Could it be from wild birds?
    I will get some mite powders. We have an organic based one available locally, which I've heard is very effective on mites. Any good ideas on how to catch him????
     
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Do you have a run that you can confine him too? Yes, he can get scaly leg mites from wild birds.
     
  6. fishdaughter

    fishdaughter Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you aart
    I'll get some mite powder and scaly leg treatment....but he roosts high in a tree and I've never got near him. Any good ideas on how to catch him? I'm wondering how he will have caught scaly leg mites if he roosts in a tree. I guess I will need to treat the three hens too (one is a chick)? Should I also completely clear out their coop and jet wash it or clean it somehow as well? The access into it is awkward, but will do my best.
    Thanks for your help!
     
  7. fishdaughter

    fishdaughter Out Of The Brooder

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    no, no run. They have a little hut and a big paddock; there's no small confined areas at all. Maybe a ladder up into whatever tree he roosts in? But if he flaps about whilst up a ladder that might be dangerous. I'm nervous that he may get aggressive as I've not tried to catch him before...
     
  8. fishdaughter

    fishdaughter Out Of The Brooder

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    If he's got them from wild birds then I have no hope of ever getting on top of it as he'll keep catching them, especially if I can't catch him too :/
     
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Chickens have terrible night vision. When they go to roost for the night, it's almost like they are in a trance. A bird could be getting pulled to pieces and the rest of the flock will just sit there, not reacting at all. They are pretty helpless in the dark. Climb up that ladder and grab him by the legs. And you may want to confine him and the flock to the coop for a few days to get him 'homed' to roosting in the coop.
     
  10. fishdaughter

    fishdaughter Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you junebuggena, that's excellent advice. I didn't know they were so placid at night...the cockerel isn't likely to attack. Azygous above suggested covering his legs in castor oil, is that better than some scaly leg ointment/spray from my local feed merchants? Also, should I completely and thoroughly clean the little coop and treat the hens too, even if he got them from wild birds. How would it be best to clean the coop...boiling water and a scrubbing brush for the bits I can reach? It's a small coop that I can't climb into and not able to reach all the surface areas very easily...but I can do my best.
    I guess, now winter is setting in, there is little chance of the mites returning in this cold weather?
    I really appreciate your help and advice. Will see if I can confine Harry the cockerel to the coop area with fence netting and a netting cover to stop him flying over. How long would he need to be confined?
     

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