Growing out foot feathers

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Missy3b, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. Missy3b

    Missy3b Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 29, 2009
    Central Missouri
    I am looking for advice on growing out foot feathers. Because of the hard winter we had, my feather footed birds all have scruffy foot feathers. What's the best way to aid in the growing of long, beautiful foot feathers that they once had? I know they should be up off the dirty ground but are there feeds that offer special vitamins, minerals, etc? Opinions are appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    Hi there! I am no expert by any means, and I do not know a lot about feather footed birds per se. BUT, I know that when birds are growing new feathers in general, their protein needs are increased because feathers (like human hair, kinda) are made of proteins. When hens molt, they stop laying eggs for a while because their bodies are using up all their protein intake in generating new feathers, or at least that is what I have read. I would imagine that if your birds are missing feathers even on their legs and feet, you could help them restore their feathers by increasing their protein. Quinoa is a good grain that's high in protein, and of course, scrambled eggs, unsalted cooked meat scraps, mealworms, and a "grower" type chicken feed that's higher in protein.

    edited for typos.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  3. chickendales

    chickendales Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i give high protien feed and pluck some feathers if i want new ones for show
     
  4. Debbi

    Debbi Overrun With Chickens

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    X2! Get your protein content up. I use Game Bird grower, or if that's not available to you, use a Chick Grower (non-medicated). I also use Black Oil Sunflower seeds, mealworms, whole grain bread, and suet. You may also want to check for scaley leg mites?
     
  5. Mr. Ree

    Mr. Ree Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When moulting season comes around, I usually break up some high protein dog food and give it to the birds every 3 days or so. The high protein and extra oils in the dog food help them feather in quicker, and its helps in the laying category as well. You can also feed them whole minnows (small enough for the birds to eat) and that helps alot when birds are moulting as well. Hope this helps. And if you want feathers to grow back in, you need to remove any damaged or broken feathers first. If you pluck the foot feathers then new feathers will grow in, althought it will take several weeks for them to grow fully.


    ~Casey
     
  6. ultasol

    ultasol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    SE Washington
    In my experience, you need to allow a LONG time for foot feathering to grow back. Last year someone told me six weeks, so I plucked a TON of foot feathers 7 weeks before a fall show.

    Guess what didn't come back in that time? ALL those darn toe feathers. Really lessened my entry. Made birds with GORGEOUS foot feathering that I pulled due to broken feathers look like they had NO center toe feather. It was heartbreaking. If you pull a foot feather, don't count on it growing back so readily. I've also gotten some ingrown foot feathering after pulling as well. This occurred in silkies.
     
  7. Missy3b

    Missy3b Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 29, 2009
    Central Missouri
    Like literally yank the feathers out? Does this mean the ones that are in will not grow back?
     
  8. Mr. Ree

    Mr. Ree Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You do not, I repeat, do NOT want to pluck or pull any of the feathers out, say with pliers or something. You need to cut the feather down until it bleeds a little, this wont hurt the bird, it will just deaden that feather folicle and its body tells itself to replace that feather. After you have done this wait a few days to a week and then pluck it, by that time the feather has loosened itself from the birds skin and can easily be pulled out, and by that time as well the new feather should already be starting to grow(although you may not see it yet). I have done this hundreds of times with my Cochins and Frizzles and have never had one take over 8-9 weeks to grow back in, and have never had any feathers that were ingrown. Im not saying it isnt possible, but its never hapened to me personally. And I have never done this to more than 3-4 feathers on each foot, and its usually the feathers on the outer toe that break the easiest, and more so on male birds then on females. Granted I have also never done this around showing season either. I would rather take a bird to a show that has all its foot feathers with a few broken, then take one who has missing feathers. As ultasol stated, judges look down on this, especially if the bird is described as having feathering on the entire middle toe. Thats just my experience in doing this, I can only vouche for myself, not anyone else. Hope this helps.


    ~Casey
     
  9. doobs

    doobs New Egg

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    Don't know if anyone will respond 3 years later but oh well . if I switch to grow mash my brahma instantly stops laying if I were to add say some oyster shells to the grow mash will she grow new foot feathers and lay or is it one or the other? her feet feathers did make a big improvement while on grow just no eggs,is that ok for her not to lay for 6 to 8 weeks or so ?
     

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