I Have a Post-Molt Color Changing Issue with an EE

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Blooie, Jan 24, 2016.

  1. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    This is probably in the wrong place. But it doesn't fit the "Emergency" category because it's not a sickness, injury or emergency. It's just a puzzlement!

    We have an EE named Gladys. Oh, she's a beauty - all golden red colored and the prettiest chicken in the flock - until this last molt. <sigh> Gladys isn't Gladys anymore. She's very dark now, and I've been watching this change occur with mounting horror! No, I haven't lost the real Gladys and confused Carbuncle with her. Carbuncle was one of the EE "twins" and we gave the other twin to my brother (700 miles away) because I couldn't tell them apart. So there is was only one golden chicken and one Carbuncle.

    Now it's getting harder and harder to tell Gladys from Carbuncle - it's almost like having the twins back!! We let them out the other day and I panicked when we put them back in because I counted 21 chickens over and over again, but didn't see Gladys. I only have 21 chickens. Today I paid more attention when we let them out and I have two chickens almost the same color, and no lovely golden red one. Guess I was seeing Gladys when I'd go out there - it's not unusual at all to have some in the coop and some in the run - but thought it was Carbuncle, not specifically noticing the absence of Gladys. Then I happened to see two almost identical chickens - one fully feathered and one just coming into feathers after molting, and started paying more attention. No mistake, no mix-up - Gladys has totally changed color!

    [​IMG]

    Gladys

    [​IMG]
    Gladys

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    Gladys before the molt. She did a light molt her first year, but she sure didn't change color like she has this last time.

    [​IMG]
    Going by the fact shes' just finishing her molt,and the amount of red on her breast, I think the one facing me is Gladys and the one looking away is Carbuncle.

    [​IMG]
    Gladys?

    [​IMG]
    Carbuncle?

    [​IMG]
    I'm so confused!!!

    [​IMG]
    So that means in the shot of them together, the one more toward the back must be Gladys, although I confess that when I see them together I'm hard pressed to know for sure.

    Oh, phooey - I ain't even sure anymore which is which! I just know my beautiful golden girl is no more and the twins are back. So questions.........

    Natural occurrence or relatively unusual?

    Short days and no supplemental light during the molt a contributing factor? (I know, I know, not likely but I'm desperate here!)

    Diet change? I feed an All Flock with 18% protein, meat scraps, veggies, and hard boiled egg with the shells. Once every couple of weeks they get suet hung in suet cage. Treats are kept to a minimum, and never fed every day.

    Anything I can do to get her color back the next molt? Feather Fixer? Hair dye? Help!!






     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    The first few pictures of Gladys show her before she was matured, given that tiny undeveloped comb. Do you have any pictures of her once she was fully matured, but before the big change? Pullets may change a bit in coloring as they mature. And it's pretty normal for there to be slight changes in coloring with molts, but usually nothing drastic.
     
  3. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Time for a leg band! [​IMG]
     
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I sure do, and I should have done that. Sorry. I'll find some.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Two shots taken in April. She was 16 months old and laying well here.

    [​IMG]
    Ken and Gladys. Taken in October.

    [​IMG]
    Taken in November, just as she was beginning her molt. Hadn't laid in a couple of weeks - still hasn't. Not rooster damage - we don't have any roos.

    Do these help? As you can see, she's never had much for a comb. Silly chicken!
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
    Also found this one of her comb....she'd been laying for months here, and as you see, not much there.
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    To her current look. That mahogany that she had as a pullet has come back, and the feathers that had just small flecks of pattern are now showing complete patterning.
    It will be interesting to see what she looks like once everything is all fully grown back in.
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    @junebuggena
    When you break it down like that it makes sense - kinda sorta. [​IMG] I just would never have expected such a huge change! But after all, I guess, it is her first hard molt. And at least I know I'm not totally crazy..... It was driving me nuts all week, trying to figure out what the heck was going on. The changes around her head aren't so bad - it's the drastic body color change that threw me off! So I can just focus on learning to tell them apart at a glance, rather than having to study them to figure it out? That would be lovely! Even lovelier would be having her beautiful coloring come back after the next molt, right?

    I suppose feeding her paprika and having her feathers highlighted at the beauty shop is out. Maybe @ChicKat has the only solution - leg bands. [​IMG] Sure glad Agatha didn't do that when she molted - at least she, Dumb Daphne the Flock Complainer, and Mathilda the Cossack stayed the same!
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Don't forget that the sun bleaches chickens out, so her new feathers will be darker and sharper, give her a summer, maybe she will lighten up again.
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    And wouldn't it be a hoot if Gladys stayed like that and Carbuncle bleached out into that glorious red gold color? [​IMG]
     
  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Be like that movie The Parent Trap.
     

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