Losing tail feathers at 15 weeks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by karmical, Oct 9, 2007.

  1. karmical

    karmical Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 3, 2007
    Honeoye Falls, NY
    My girls are at 15 weeks now and I'm noticing that a few of them have lost ALL of their longest tail feathers.

    I don't think this is a picking problem because this AM I witnessed my partridge rock fly off the roost with a big swoop, leaving two of her sturdiest tail feathers behind and a third, just hanging from her bum, came out in my hand when I petted her.

    On of my SFs just lost the last of HER longest tail feathers yesterday and I also noticed my BR has gone from having a few pointy high feathers to having just the lower rounded ones.

    The picking I HAVE witnessed seems to be limited to the neck area, and those feathers don't seem to come out when pulled on...it almost seems like they're grooming each other they do it so gently.

    Is it normal for pullets to just lose big sturdy feathers like that? Or should I look at their diet? Could it be a protein deficiency? The grower crumbles I have them on is (Agway) 14.5% protein which I think might be on the low side?

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Wisconsin
    Could they be molting? Mine molted just before that age.
     
  3. Ma

    Ma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 10, 2007
    Camanche, Iowa
    Not to worry, sort of like a mini-molt, not a full blown adult molt that they will have next year.

    My flock is 13 wks old and are going thru this currently. Feathers are everywhere. But the new ones are coming in just fine. And these are their real adult feathers that will molt next year.

    I have BO's and SLW's. I had the same concern as you and this is what I was advised. So I hope this helps.
     
  4. karmical

    karmical Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 3, 2007
    Honeoye Falls, NY
    Ah ha!

    I didn't realize they did any molting until after they got all of their adult feathers in. I have noticed "baby" feathers sort of everywhere these past couple of weeks, but these big feathers that came out seemed like they WERE adult feathers, but then I'm new to all this [​IMG]

    They were just so pretty!!! Ah well....sounds like they will grow back [​IMG]

    Thanks!!!
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    This isn't the real big molt, but they do get new feathers during their growing-up period. For instance, my Barred Rock Lexie was pegged as a cockerel till she was almost 12 weeks old-her coloring, stance and tailfeathers said ROOSTER. Then suddenly, she molted out the three long tailfeathers and BOOM! She really looked like her body was a pullet's body at last.
     
  6. Ma

    Ma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 10, 2007
    Camanche, Iowa
    speckledhen...the exact same happened to me just yesterday. We were very suspicious of a BO we thought might be "changing" into a rooster. Then she lost those tailfeathers that made us suspicious and whala! Back to being a hen![​IMG]
     

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