Feeding issue, deficiency I need your opinions please!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Elite Silkies, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 17, 2009
    My Coop
    After seeing so many pictures of 4-5 month old Australorps, I am thinking that the seller wasn't quite honest when I purchased my flock. They should be 23 weeks now. They still have small combs and wattles and they are still pink.

    I started them on layer when I assumed they were 18 weeks of age. They are plucking their feathers out.

    I have dusted them and their coop and run. No mites no lice. I thinks it's deficiency because I changed feed too early.

    Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

    I plan on putting them back on grower tomorrow. I scrambled them eggs yesterday. They get scraps, cucumbers, alfalfa, etc.

    Thanks Cammy
  2. artsyrobin

    artsyrobin Artful Wings

    Mar 1, 2009
    Muskogee OK
    you might also try putting apple cider vinegar in their water- it would build up their immune systems and add minerals they might be missing. i have read not to give layer feed till they actually start laying
  3. BaronRenfrew

    BaronRenfrew Chillin' With My Peeps

    Are you sure that they are plucking the feathers out? Some birds start to moult between now and the end of NOV regardless of age.

    If you want them to lay they need 14 hours of daylight. It's now less than that naturally.
  4. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 17, 2009
    My Coop
    Quote:Well, I found a site that said they could moult between 4-5 months, and there is an awful lot of feathers. But this has been going on for about a month and a half now. They look no older than 16-18 weeks to me. I also thought maybe they were plucking their juvenile feathers. They look fully feathered, no bareness, except in their tails.

    I give them ACV and plain yogart. It just doesn't seem like they are maturing like the others that I have seen. I also give them cooked oatmeal and scraps.
  5. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    Chickens essentially get three sets of feathers before they mature completely...first they have down, then they get juvenile feathers, then they have adult feathers.

    I thought the first time we had pullets that they were picking feathers between the time I put them into the run (about 12 weeks of age) and before they started laying. There were feathers everywhere! However, I figured it out and started researching it when I had clipped their wing feathers around 12 weeks but by 20 weeks all of the wing feathers had re-grown.

    So, unless they are looking bare or you can identify parasites, I wouldn't worry about lots of feathers around their coop.

    My current pullets are 21 weeks and I only have 3 laying. They are speckled sussex, Delawares, and EE's. The Delawares "look" really ready for laying, one of the EE's is already laying and another looks ready, one of the sussex is laying but the others have barely a comb and are not even pink.

    Since we put them out in the coop / run with the hens at about 10-12 weeks of age I have had the whole flock on FlockRaiser so they can all eat the same thing. And within the last few weeks my daughter decided to show some of her birds in November so we now have them on gamebird feed with a bit of turkey grower so they have more protein to develop the pretty feathers and muscle tone.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with changing them from starter to layer feed once they are over about 15 weeks of age. I haven't ever noticed a difference from my first hens that were kept on starter until they layed an egg or moving them off starter a bit earlier as we do now. Besides, even when you see the first egg you don't always know who layed it, yet most people will put the entire group on layer with the first egg. So there will always be a few who go another month or so before laying and been on layer rations since the first girl layed an egg.
  6. AngelzFyre

    AngelzFyre Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 18, 2007
    Pell City, Alabama
    Have you tried either a game bird feed or Purina Flock Raiser?
    Both have additional protein and as long as you keep oyster shell available 24/7, it does great to bring their protein level up when they are molting and year round.
    I use Flock Raiser and then add their Flock Blocks in each coop.
    Even when they are molting this time of year, the egg laying doesn't drop off nearly as much as when I just had them on the Layena.

    I do keep ACV in their water and oyster shell and grit in separate containers available all the time.
  7. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 17, 2009
    My Coop
    I will get some game bird feed today and get them started on that and see if that helps. I give them oyster shell but they will not eat it, so I give them egg shell. They get grit also.

    Even with the feather loss they are still nicely feathered with no bare spots.

    I do give them water with ACV and regular water. I also give them plain yogurt and black oil sunflower seeds.

    I think I worry too much and I need to learn to relax a bit. I appreciate all the help and will put it to good use.

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