Feathering

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by hippiehen, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. hippiehen

    hippiehen wastefully exuberant

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    Aug 27, 2008
    Utopia, Texas
    Can anyone give me a general guide for the way chicks feather out? I know every breed is different but I was hoping for just a rough guide from the experts. I've noticed some chicks feather out on their tails faster, their necks, ect.

    Thanks!!
     
  2. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Chillin' With My Peeps

    Our chicks tend to grow in their flight feathers first, followed by body feathers (usually backs and breast first, then neck). Head feathering can be rather slow. This pattern has been pretty consistent with our birds, including ones from the hatchery (EE's, bantam cochins, Belgian Bearded, Polish) and our mixed-breed chicks. I've noticed that heavier breeds like Red Stars tend to feather more slowly, and sometimes we would have pink skin showing through the down. Also, there are fast-feathering and slow-feathering strains of several breeds.

    Does this help?
     
  3. hippiehen

    hippiehen wastefully exuberant

    376
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    Aug 27, 2008
    Utopia, Texas
    Yes thank you! I'm particularly interested in males vs females, where they feather first. I probably should have mentioned that! [​IMG]
     
  4. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ah! If we're talking about very young chicks, there is a way to use feathering speed (on the wings) to determine males from females when they're less than three days old. For that to work, though, the birds have to have the right feathering genes. It's possible to develop strains within a breed that will do this, but I don't think there are any cases where it works with all strains of a breed. Here's a page on it: http://www.ca.uky.edu/smallflocks/sex_linked_crosses.html

    If
    we're talking about chicks that are a few weeks old, I haven't seen any real correlation between gender and speed of feathering. However, I definitely see a correlation with size and speed of body growth overall! With most of our birds, by three weeks old the males are a little taller and have thicker shanks than the females. There will be exceptions to that rule, though!
     

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