Early feathers?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by LeadHead, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. LeadHead

    LeadHead Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2011
    I decided (sort of late in the summer, yes) to incubate some eggs from our 8 Rhode Island Reds and 1 Ameraucana to begin replacing our layers. We have 1 roo. We saved 3 dozen eggs over the course of a week or so, keeping them in the cool basement and turning them each day. After accumulating the desired number, I placed them in the incubator on a Sunday morning around 1am, and used an automatic egg turner. My hatch was pathetic--16 surviving live chicks (2 or 3 of which I had to help out of their shell), 2 others were deformed (1 with an external brain, the other had splayed legs) and 1 other hatched but died soon after. The thing is, I disovered the first one beginning to pip when I went to remove them from the automatic egg turner, and once he hatched the others soon followed, a day or more earlier than they should have. When we figured the rest of the unhatched eggs were not going to hatch, we broke them open and found 4 or 5 infertile, 5 or 6 fully developed but dead, one was rotten, and some were in various stages of development. Not a good experience.
    Anyway, the 16 seem to be doing quite well in their brooder. My question is regarding how soon they begin feathering out. It's been a couple years since I hatched any and I don't recall their wing feathers coming in this quickly. At the age of 3 days or so their wing feathers were visible, and now that they're about 4 or 5 days old those feathers are approaching 1" long! They literally appear to be longer each time I check on them during the day. Is this normal?
  2. Flawedatdesign

    Flawedatdesign Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2011
    Dixon Missouri
    I was wondering this myself I have a Mutt we call Monster Chick at 2 weeks old his wings are almost fully feathered and tail is close to being fully feathered. I just thought it was a freak thing lol
  3. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    That's normal. I got mine as day-olds the day they arrived at TSC. They already had little tiny wing feathers starting. By the middle of the second week they had 2 rows of wing feathers and little tails.
  4. LeadHead

    LeadHead Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2011
    Ok, I posted that message at 1am this morning--at 6:45 their feathers are noticeably longer. It appears that they even have secondaries at this time! It's weird because I don't remember them growing this quickly.
  5. TravisME

    TravisME Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 26, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Those deformities and them hatching early tend to indicate your incubation temperature was too high. You need a calibrated thermometer good to within 0.1 degrees to know what your actual temperatures are. I'd suggest trying to drop the incubation temperature by about 1/2 a degree before your next incubation.

    There is a gene that determines if they are going to be fast feathering or slow feathering. Sounds like yours have the fast feathering version.
  7. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    LOL, that is quite fast, but the bright side is that pullets feather much faster than cockerals, so chances are you will be pleasantly blessed........Pop
  8. TinyChickenLady

    TinyChickenLady Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was actually wondering the same thing. Mine are 2 weeks old and have their wings and tails completely feathered.... And the feathers on their backs are starting to come in nicely as well [​IMG] Hopefully that means I have some pullets.
  9. LeadHead

    LeadHead Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hopefully you're right, Lollipop. I set 36 eggs because approximately 15 hens would be nice to add to my flock, so if the hen/roo ratio is high that would be great.
  10. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    I was surprized by how fast they went from cute fuzzy chick to feathered chick. Now our Leghorns have lots of feathers on them and they're just 2 weeks today. And they are starting to show their personalities.

    Going by the early pullet feathering rule I've divided my flock into 3 cockerels & 2 pullets - the girls had their long tail feathers by 1.5 weeks and the boys just started getting tuffs of tail feathers yesterday morning. The girls & boys have their wing feathers & - but the girls got them within about 3 days and the boys got them around 5 days. Plus the girls have long feathers on their wings and the boys have long and short. I also noticed that the boys have much higher comb peeks as of yesterday.

    What to do with 3 roosters and 2 hens... oh yeah - get more hens! Who knew chickens could be this much fun to watch!

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