Hens red earlobes turning white

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickenlady, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. chickenlady

    chickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    Why does this happen? How can I fix it. The hens are only 1 year old and the earlobes are fading to white.
     
  2. hatchaholic

    hatchaholic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    South Carolina
    What kind of chickens? Always heard that chickens with white earlobes lay white eggs....Don't know if it's true or not, mine are all brown egg layers.
     
  3. chickenlady

    chickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    That is very true. White lobes equal white eggs. But I have a breed that should have red earlobes and they are starting to fade badly and have white all around the edges. I want to fix anything that may be wrong whether dietary or not.
     
  4. hatchaholic

    hatchaholic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    South Carolina
    Gotcha. Can't wait to hear what the problem is...
     
  5. Shaffer

    Shaffer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 2, 2008
    Tamaqua, NE Pa
    Chickenlady,
    This is a fault in some breeds like Araucanas and Ameraucanas and difficult to correct. Check your roosters you are planning on using to breed her to and make sure they are bright red ear lobes. A good bird will show the red almost right away as it is growing. Roosters with white should never be used for breeding. Hens you can use and try and correct it with a good rooster but have to keep culling for several years. Pink is not red. Pink is an intermediate and still has the white genes in them but intermediately. Good luck, it will take a while to correct this defect. HS
     
  6. chickenlady

    chickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    Thanks so much. That is what I thought I was going to hear but was hoping for some deficiency or something. Alrighty then, I guess I will be checking my roos. Thanks again.
     
  7. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 11, 2007
    PA
    Chickenlady, if I am understanding you correctly, the birds had red lobes and they are now turning white at a year old? It sounds like they are getting pale from shutting down their lay cycle. Are they going into moult or have they stopped laying for some time? That can cause fluctuations in red (comb, wattles and earlobes) - especially on hens. When hens are in production, they are typically very red. When they are out of production, they get pale.

    Aside from that, severe mite/lice infestations can cause paleness as well.

    Jody
     
  8. chickenlady

    chickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    Jody, their earlobes have always been very red, all over them. They turned a year old in the middle of July. In August, I noticed around the outside of the earlobe starting to whiten up and the rest looks washed out. Yes, my hens are in their first molt right now and it is a pretty severe molt. They have stopped laying for quite some time now. Their new feathers are coming in, they are about 2 inches long now. Many of them. If that is all it is, I will be thrilled. It was actually pointed out to me by a judge at a show in August. I do not have the parents of these hens so I cannot check their lobes. Thanks for some hope [​IMG]


    Edited to add: I am picky about mites and lice. They are free of all infestations. I treat them periodically and have never had a severe outbreak of bugs on any of my birds. These are my show birds and I treat them better than my DH, lol. Poor DH.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2008
  9. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 14, 2008
    Listen to Jody-there's nothing wrong with your hens. When they complete their molt their ear lobes will brighten again, but may never be quite as red as they were as pullets.
    Laying eggs is a lot of work and hens ear lobes legs and even combs often lighten as they progress through a laying cycle only to get thier colour back after they rest [molt].
    This is most true of the best layers who are working the hardest.
     
  10. chickenlady

    chickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    Thank you Shaffer, Jody, and NYREDS. I appreciate all the info. I will look at all of my breeding stock to make sure this isnt something that I am going to possibly breed. As Shaffer mentioned, the judge in August told me this was a defect and it was undesirable. I will keep an eye on my girls for when they finish their molt. I am hoping you are right about the molt. That will make me very happy [​IMG].
     

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