Do these chicken have any visible problems?

Oct 2, 2020
50
29
58
I have been accidently feeding layer to my pullets and their combs have gotten a bit pale (more like white dots all over their combs).

Is this something to worry about? How can I treat this (or from the pictures does it look perfectly normal?)?

Thanks
 

Attachments

  • 76CA5B8D-5DF5-4423-AC3B-FFF766E41583.jpeg
    76CA5B8D-5DF5-4423-AC3B-FFF766E41583.jpeg
    329.6 KB · Views: 9
  • 3E263422-5257-4A3D-BF3A-29B5875E4F0E.jpeg
    3E263422-5257-4A3D-BF3A-29B5875E4F0E.jpeg
    407.8 KB · Views: 9
  • BA8DB5E7-37C3-48B0-878B-AB5CD293B1FD.jpeg
    BA8DB5E7-37C3-48B0-878B-AB5CD293B1FD.jpeg
    792.3 KB · Views: 8
  • 90D01A81-9CE8-4E3F-AA4F-F97081869D4A.jpeg
    90D01A81-9CE8-4E3F-AA4F-F97081869D4A.jpeg
    384 KB · Views: 6
  • A91C9A1E-0375-46F8-9F88-58A16C9B67F7.jpeg
    A91C9A1E-0375-46F8-9F88-58A16C9B67F7.jpeg
    382.5 KB · Views: 6

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
62,507
55,552
1,322
southern Ohio
They look fairly normal for non layers. All flock or flock raiser feed is very good for all birds, and lacks the extra calcium that layers need. Many chickens get pale and dry skin in winter, especially birds who are not yet laying, or those who are taking a break from laying while the daylight hours are shorter. It is always a good idea to look birds over periodically for signs of lice and mites. Some mites (common roost mites) only come out at night, while the northern fowl mites remain on the chicken day and night. Mites can cause pale skin and lead to anemia.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,441
28,538
1,097
St. Louis, MO
It is very normal for combs and wattles to pale and shrink in the dead of winter. Days are only about 2.5 minutes longer at my latitude now than they were at winter solstice.
When fed excessive calcium, you won't likely see any signs of illness or injury.
The damage is internal.
How old were the birds when you started them on layer feed and how old are they now?
 
Oct 2, 2020
50
29
58
What's your temps been like? Have they started laying yet? There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with them. It's not unusual for combs to look pale in the winter, especially for chickens not laying.
Temperatures are around 50-65 in the daytime and go as low as 40 in the night (i live in arizona). Do you think the paleness could be caused by too much calcium from the layer feed as it isnt too cold where im at?
 
Oct 2, 2020
50
29
58
It is very normal for combs and wattles to pale and shrink in the dead of winter. Days are only about 2.5 minutes longer at my latitude now than they were at winter solstice.
When fed excessive calcium, you won't likely see any signs of illness or injury.
The damage is internal.
How old were the birds when you started them on layer feed and how old are they now?
They are around 16-18 weeks old and they have been on layer for the past couple of months
 

humblehillsfarm

Crazy chicken lady
Mar 27, 2020
3,664
7,205
461
Southwestern Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
Temperatures are around 50-65 in the daytime and go as low as 40 in the night (i live in arizona). Do you think the paleness could be caused by too much calcium from the layer feed as it isnt too cold where im at?
No. And honestly its doubtful they'll suffer any long-term effects from that brief period of extra calcium. Besides, you can't take it back. Don't worry about it! When they start laying, their combs will perk up.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,441
28,538
1,097
St. Louis, MO
They are around 16-18 weeks old and they have been on layer for the past couple of months
That's a problem. As I said, the paleness is due to the day length and unrelated to the excess calcium. However, starting 8 week old chicks on a 4% calcium diet has likely caused damage that is not reversible so as humblehillsfarm said, there is nothing to do about it now. Just make sure they are always well hydrated.
Chickens have 2 kidneys with 3 segments each. The job of the kidneys is to regulate minerals in the bloodstream. When the kidneys get overwhelmed by the amount of calcium they must process, damage starts to occur and kidney segments either swell or become atrophied. There will be no external visible problem. As long as there are two functioning segments, the chicken appears normal and will continue to lay eggs. When one of the last segments fails, the bird can die within 24 hours with no symptoms.
But as I said, the damage is irreversible. Becoming dehydrated will just exacerbate the problem.
Should one of these birds die in the future, especially from unknown cause, I would have a necropsy performed at your state poultry lab to confirm cause.
What state are you in?
 

humblehillsfarm

Crazy chicken lady
Mar 27, 2020
3,664
7,205
461
Southwestern Pennsylvania
My Coop
My Coop
That's a problem. As I said, the paleness is due to the day length and unrelated to the excess calcium. However, starting 8 week old chicks on a 4% calcium diet has likely caused damage that is not reversible so as humblehillsfarm said, there is nothing to do about it now. Just make sure they are always well hydrated.
Chickens have 2 kidneys with 3 segments each. The job of the kidneys is to regulate minerals in the bloodstream. When the kidneys get overwhelmed by the amount of calcium they must process, damage starts to occur and kidney segments either swell or become atrophied. There will be no external visible problem. As long as there are two functioning segments, the chicken appears normal and will continue to lay eggs. When one of the last segments fails, the bird can die within 24 hours with no symptoms.
But as I said, the damage is irreversible. Becoming dehydrated will just exacerbate the problem.
Should one of these birds die in the future, especially from unknown cause, I would have a necropsy performed at your state poultry lab to confirm cause.
What state are you in?
I am not disagreeing with you about the irreversible damage per se, but I know hundreds of roosters spend their lives on layer feed and live a decent life. They may die at five or six years old instead of 10, who knows. Some do have kidney damage for sure. I don't have any evidence to support my claim, especially since they were still developing chicks, but I just don't feel that two months of layer feed is enough to cause permanent irreversible damage for every bird. I'm sure it's possible, but I feel it is unlikely. Like I said, I have no hard evidence to support this. I even tried to look it up, and there is no research (that I could find) to show how long birds must be feed excess calcium to suffer long-term damage. I just don't think there's a cause for raising significant alarm, nor do I feel it is causing the pale combs. I just don't want OP to think they are definitely doomed!

I definitely agree to keep them hydrated. I personally try to avoid layer feed at all these days. I prefer 18% protein all-flock or grower feed. I have old non-laying hens, pullets that haven't started laying, three roosters, and some hens which haven't started laying post-molt. The longer you have chickens, the more you start to have this kind of mixed flock, and all-flock or grower just makes more sense.

Try not to worry OP. Trust me on that note at least. It's easy to worry over every little thing with chickens. I've been there. I've definitely made mistakes. Every time it seems I've concurred one problem, another one pops up. Just take it all in stride, learn from your mistakes, don't beat yourself up.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2, 2020
50
29
58
That's a problem. As I said, the paleness is due to the day length and unrelated to the excess calcium. However, starting 8 week old chicks on a 4% calcium diet has likely caused damage that is not reversible so as humblehillsfarm said, there is nothing to do about it now. Just make sure they are always well hydrated.
Chickens have 2 kidneys with 3 segments each. The job of the kidneys is to regulate minerals in the bloodstream. When the kidneys get overwhelmed by the amount of calcium they must process, damage starts to occur and kidney segments either swell or become atrophied. There will be no external visible problem. As long as there are two functioning segments, the chicken appears normal and will continue to lay eggs. When one of the last segments fails, the bird can die within 24 hours with no symptoms.
But as I said, the damage is irreversible. Becoming dehydrated will just exacerbate the problem.
Should one of these birds die in the future, especially from unknown cause, I would have a necropsy performed at your state poultry lab to confirm cause.
What state are you in?
Arizona
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom