I thought about posting on the Marans thread, but wanted to be able to track the answer and get the topic going... I love my young Marans, but am beginning to wonder about vigor and disease resistance. Leg feathering seems highly desirable, but among my little flock the feather-legged birds are the weakest. I bought 6 Marans (4 BC, 2 wheaten, 3 were feather legged) chicks in January and the clean legged ones are thriving. Very early on they all came down with a respiratory thing (runny noses, head bobbing) and I dosed them all with Sulmet for 2 weeks. Things looked better except for the littlest BC with feathered legs. I wound up hand feeding that one (Stubs) parrot formula for a couple days. It recovered, though it is still pretty small compared to the others. Then in early April we got a hard freeze, just 2 weeks after I moved them outside. They were in a brooder coop with heat lamp. But my family's favorite wheaten, Boots, caught something again. Once again a feather legged bird got sick. She got sick so fast I tried Tylan injections but to no avail. Rough time for all, Boots was a wonderful character - adventurous, beautiful, affectionate and full of mischief. With all the rain we have had it doesn't surprise me that another bird is under the weather. It is another feather legged bird (Flaps), a Black Copper. Their coop and dust bath is kept dry, though the run is a mess. Though they all didn't seem to care about the rain when it first started weeks ago, they have learned to like things inside, and the healthy (all clean legged except for Stubs) ones party in the coop. Flaps hangs out under the lamp. I am starting to wonder if I should cull, though he is my only hope for having a feather legged rooster. So is there any connection between leg feathering and vigor in Marans?