Fluffy Chickens?


7 Years
Sep 28, 2012
Missouri, but Montana in my dreams
My Coop
My Coop
I don't know where to post this thread, so I'll put it here, but if it needs to be moved, please do so.

I'm wondering why/how some peoples' chickens are fluffier and prettier than others? I'm not mentioning any specific names, but someone can have a Silkie or a Brahma or Sussex (virtually every breed) that is the same exact color and breed as someone else's - and it looks 100x prettier - why is that? I've also seen mention of bedding and feed and these folks are pretty much feeding the same things.

Do some people give their chickens baths with some sort of "chicken shampoo" and fluff them out or blow dry them?

I'm just wondering how I can keep my chickens fluffy and full looking instead of worn out and faded looking.

(no chickens yet but I want to be prepared beforehand and know what I'm doing)

I hope at least SOME part of this made sense.
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It's breeding and bloodlines more than anything. Feed will help with feather quality, but not how fluffy the feathers are. Washing will get the dirt off, the chicken preening itself will add some shine, but there are limits to how good a bird can look, and that's from the breeding.

Like those English Orpingtons with the short stubby legs, large bodies, and super fluff. Not at all like the Orpington you picked up at the feed store. The hatchery doesn't care how long their legs are, or how fluffy they are. They need to lay eggs, and lot's of them, and be a certain color.

Egg color is genetic too. You can spend a fortune on Marans eggs, but they don't all have that super dark color. That comes from generations of careful breeding for that color. Hatchery type Marans, especially the Cuckoo, the brown egg they lay is rarely any different than other brown eggs.

You can go to a pet store and pick up a Min-Pin puppy. It'll will grow up to be too large, one flop ear, pigeon toed, and a white spot on the chest. Or, you can get with a show breeder, and get the spitting image of a Doberman in a pint size, perfect in body, compact size, correct stance, good coat.

You can go to the feed store in April and get a box of baby chicks. Or you can get put on a waiting list 6 months in advance with a reputable show breeder, and get a totally different looking bird of the same breed. You can hop into the action of an egg auction and win the bluest hatching eggs you've ever seen. Or pick up some EE's for $10 each and get the green eggs.

An egg is an egg. The hatcheries breed for the egg. The breeders breed for the bird. The best is the eggs with the great looking bird that lays it.

The hatcheries can have different birds from each other too. Different strains. Some may be fluffier than others, or other differences. Not all birds from the same hatch will turn out the same. You can buy a dozen chicks from a show breeder and only get 3 that are of really nice quality. Depends on how the genetic dice fell. You can also get a surprise in the hatchery box of chicks, with an exceptional individual or two.
Thank you for your reply and for taking time out of your morning to go into detail. I appreciate it! It makes sense now, and for some reason I didn't relate dogs to chickens - the thought didn't enter my head that chickens were similar in regard to genetic composition. I know -- duh.
I've already made mistake after mistake when it comes to chicken breeds and hatching eggs. I was just completely thrilled to get into raising chickens that I felt all I needed was an "overview" of the basics; not so. I think I will be a lot more selective on future 'chicken decisions'. Thanks again for taking the time to answer me. :'')
It's hard to sort through the breeders. If you really, really want the quality you have to pay attention to the chain of a bloodline.

For example, Jerry brought in some Malaysian Serama. You like that look better than the later American Serama. You look at adds, not wanting to spend what Jerry charges, and wanting hatching eggs, which Jerry doesn't ship. Lot's of adds for Malaysian Seramas, who do you choose? (ok, not that many, but for example)

My method is to buy from many, to keep a few. Gleaning the best from each hatch. Some turn out better than others.

One seller may have gotten birds directly from Jerry. Seller A. Seller B got birds from Seller A. Seller C got birds from someone claiming to have Jerry birds, but it wasn't true. Seller D is confused on the difference between American and Malaysian and has them all penned together. Seller C and seller D do not separate by size, A, B, and C class. Seller A and seller B do separate, and both will put B class hens with A or B roosters. They sell all the C class birds as pets on craigslist for $5 each or something.

Seller A selects roosters with the most upright tails and correct combs. Seller B goes for size and color, not sweating the details.

All of them want $25 per half dozen on hatching eggs, all of them use Jerry's name. All of them show a photo of a cute little rooster and tiny little eggs. See how easy it is to get "ripped off"?

Chickens don't have pedigrees. You're at the mercy of the knowledge and honesty of the seller. Shop by word of mouth and reputation, based on what it is you're after.

There's a mini horse breeder who makes some of the best around. You can't leave that farm without spending $2500 or more. But once a year, they take what didn't sell, minus the papers and the name, and sell at auction for $200 or so. Animal breeding is such an interesting business.
There is also self editing of pictures. Also not letting the bad ones in front of the camera. After all even SQ birds have bad days. Over all I agree with mandelyn good stock takes better pictures.

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