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Feathers change during molt

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TXchickmum, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My birds began molting in the fall. Some are finished and have regrown their lovely feathers. Some started later, and are still in the process of new growth. My GLW has a very peculiar thing happening - Some of her feathers are growing back in white and frizzled. What in the world would cause such a thing?? -never seen anything like this before. All of the new growth is lighter and somewhat curled. -most bizarre looking.....
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    How old is she?

    Some lines continue to improve feathering as they grow, with birds sometimes going through extensive color and patterning changes, but this obviously isn't an improvement in your case, the frizzled bit suggests possible deficiency or disease has attacked while she's moulting. There's a few viruses known to attack feather follicles, and a few deficiencies that also malform them.

    Was she sick, or vaccinated, or wormed within the last 3 months before going into moult? Some of those are also known to alter feathering, sometimes drastically.

    I haven't heard of feather type changing with moults without it being a hormone, disease, toxicity or deficiency issue. I wonder if it's not unheard of for them to revert to frizzle feathering if they had that in their ancestry though.

    I've heard of, and seen, feather coloring change with moults, due to improved diet usually, but something going wrong can also cause changes. Generally, if the change is due to nutritional factors, improvement is darker, and worsening is lighter, in results.

    Will be interesting to see how this one plays out, and hear some other thoughts on it.

    Best wishes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014
  3. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She's three. She has never experienced any illness (to my knowledge). -hasn't been wormed since June. -has an ample supply of fresh water daily (with waterers sanitized weekly). -diet hasn't changed. -is fed a well-balanced layer crumble, allowed to forage for bugs and greens from the yard, and is given supplemental greens (spinach and kale). -don't give her any "junky" treats. She hasn't any mites. -is very alert and full of energy. -appears very healthy.

    All of the others in the flock have beautiful feathers coming in! -nice, shiny, glossy feathers! She has us stumped. The feathers that are coming in stark white are just puzzling. The "frizzled" looking ones are peculiar, too.

    I would love to know what is going on.
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Good response, addressed all points pretty much.

    Well, that eliminates probably most of the common causes, though some remain to be seen (i.e. endocrine issues can be hard to diagnose for sure and without lab testing some possibilities are unable to be eliminated).

    Are you 100% sure she's purebred and isn't just relapsing to some ancestral phenotype? It's not uncommon for breeders to sell 'purebred' birds without knowing a sneaky mating occurred which produced offspring they thought were pure but which weren't. Results can continue cropping up for generations of course.

    If she seems normal in all other aspects, I would just watch and see how it goes... I don't know what's going on, sorry. A vet might have a clue, but plenty of vets have no clue about chooks, might cost you and get you no return.

    Some pics would be possibly helpful, if you can get them, perhaps someone on this forum knows what's up.

    Best wishes.
     
  5. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    What did you worm her with? Some wormers are known to cause the next moult to grow out damaged, even if given months away from moulting. Different animals react differently to the same things, many times people dismiss a possibility because the rest of the flock looks fine, but quite often effects are not seen across the spectrum.
     
  6. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    These are pics of her before the feather change. I will upload some today of the weird new growth.



    Thank you for your replies. No. I have no idea if she is "purebred". She was purchased at our local feed store. -looked like the other GLWs. -has had beautiful lacing/plumage until now. We have already begun to suspect that somewhere down the line there may have been another breed. [​IMG] -thinking she may just be a funky bird!

    She was wormed with a pea-sized drop of Zimecterin Gold. (Our climate is very conducive to tapeworms. We tried Verm-X as a preventive a few years ago with no luck. -seems like every summer a few birds get tapes which won't respond to typical chicken wormers.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Those are great pics, beautiful bird!

    Curious to see her now.....sounds like sneaky gene cropping up.
     
  8. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here's the best pic I could get of her today. She was on the move and wouldn't get still for two seconds.
    [​IMG]


    You can see the white wing feathers and the ruffled looking feathers coming in on top. She has more white feathers in the front, but I couldn't get her to stand still long enough to get a better pic. -will try to get a close up.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
  9. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    As far as I know, a chicken is either frizzled or its not. It doesn't start out normal feathered and molt into frizzled feathers, no matter what its ancestry. I've had frizzles of many breeds, and smooths produced by them, and have never had anything like this happen. I'm not saying something like that couldn't happen, but I've never heard of it before. Anyway...
    In the latest picture of her, she doesn't look as fully feathered as she did in the older pictures. My guess is that she still isn't finished with her molt and they're still growing, which is making them look wonky. I'm betting that as more come in, those weird looking ones will fall into place like they were before. As for the white feathers, I think that just sometimes happens. I had a partridge Chentecler that got a few white feathers in different places on her head after a molt. They stayed there until she passed, they gave her some character. Some of my Silkies, especially my splash, change color with each molt. The splash tend to get darker, but my black rooster has developed a little gold leakage that wasn't there before!
     
  10. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the reply. She isn't fully feathered. She does still have feathers that are coming in. They jus look curled up. I suppose that once they come in completely they'll lay down and straighten out. She's the first to have new growth coming in looking like this, but I suppose that it is normal.

    I guess the white feathers are just an anomaly. As long as she is healthy, it's all good. -does go with her personality a bit as she is quirky and tends to venture away from the flock on her own.
     

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