Hens Molt...do roosters?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by backyard redneck, May 24, 2007.

  1. backyard redneck

    backyard redneck Out Of The Brooder

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    I have read all over about a hen or pullet molting, and it gives them a break from reproducing etc. I want to know if roosters do too?
    My rooster has some crummy looking tail feathers and I want to know if he will replace his feathers. How do they replace worn out scraggly feathers?

    thnks:)
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2007
  2. DementedHam

    DementedHam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2007
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    All chickens molt. As for the scraggly feathers, those either break or stay there for a while.
     
  3. MTchick

    MTchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Birds usually replace their feathers once a year. If a feather is pulled out, a new one will grow. But if a feather breaks above the skin, it won't grow back until it falls out with the rest of them. Therefore, if your chicken has a broken feather that you really want it to grow back soon (I would think for show or something) you'd have to pull it out at the skin. This hurts the bird and with wing feathers it can cause serious bleeding if you do it wrong, so I don't think it is a great idea.

    -MTchick
     
  4. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

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    ALL birds moult, no matter their sex. Tail feathers are some of the very last to be moulted, so you may be waiting awhile. I used to breed parrots, and often had macaws with ratty tails from playing in their cages and on their stands. It is possible to gently pull them out so that new ones come in quicker (its a trick used for getting your roo ready to show) and to just make him 'pretty' again sooner. Its not hard to do, but you'll need a few things first.

    You'll need a pliers and either some QuikStop (sold in any petstore) or some baking powder or flour to control any bleeding. But, it you are careful there shouldn't be any. Take your roo and gently (but firmly) wrap him in a towel with his head covered too, and expose his tail only. I have found it is the easiest to do this at night when they are roosting and relaxed. Keep the light as dim (a red bulb works great for this) as you can and still be able to see what you're doing.

    Check each feather that you are wanting to pull first. Follow it all the way down the shaft to where it meets the skin and look. Is the shaft 'clear' all the way down and kinda 'crunchy', or do you see blood or coloring inside it and its very soft and flexible? If you see anyting in the shaft, do NOT pull that feather because its a blood feather (not fully grown in yet and has blood supply). After a feather grows in all the way, the blood supply is cut off to it, making the feather like a thick 'hair' of sorts.

    Ok, so if the shaft is clear, you can pull it by grasping it firmly with the pliers, and tug it out in one quick pull (like pulling off a BandAid). Once the feather is out, check the pore for any sign of bleeding. If there is any, dab on some QuikStop or flour and apply a little pressure for a few seconds and the bleeding will stop. If no bleeding after about 20 seconds, you are OK to move on to the next feather. Pull only the feathers that you need to! They will begin to regrow in about 2-4 weeks, as opposed to waiting for him to naturally moult them roughly twice every year.

    Be very careful not to bend or break a blood feather, and pull any that are broken, as feather shafts act like straws and will pump blood out with every heart beat. A small bird can easily bleed out from ONE broken blood feather in a matter of hours. If you DO break a blood feather, the only way to stop the bleeding is to pull the feather out completely, apply QuikStop and pressure. While it IS possible to just apply QuikStop right on the broken feather to stop the bleeding, keep in mind that the very next time he or she flaps their wings, it will begin bleeding again, so best to just pull it out.
     
  5. backyard redneck

    backyard redneck Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2007
    Ok, wow, I had no idea! So next question is...how do people keep the birds feathers good looking for showing a bird? If my roosters tail feathers are ratty from age and he has not molted, then how to get him looking real nice?

    I want to show my rooster and he looked so good a month or so ago, and he has plenty of room, is freeranged during the day. I think the girls pick on him [​IMG].
     
  6. Queen of the Lilliputians

    Queen of the Lilliputians Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2007
    Maine
    I think people keep their show birds in small cages for a little while prior to the show. That keeps them from getting into trouble, and keeps their feathers looking beautiful.
     
  7. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

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    There are other tricks too like a little vasoline on the comb, wattles, legs, and beak to add shine, and hairspray on the feathers to add sheen. [​IMG]
     

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