Q about feathering-out (just curious)

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by patandchickens, May 12, 2008.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I am amazed at how much variation there is among chicks in how quickly or slowly their feathers are coming in.

    I have 20 chicks, spread across three breeds, that are about a week and a half old now. A couple have had (for a while now) long wing feathers all the way out to their butts, and an inch of tail, and little feathers coming in on the shoulders and on the 'front edge' of the wing. They look like sparrows. Others, and these are chicks of the same hatch date and breed, have only short wing feathers, the first tiny hints of tail feathers getting ready to sprout, and nothing else.

    The only consistant difference I see among breeds is that none of the campines are growing shoulder feathers yet no matter how advanced the wing and tail feathers are. The vast majority of the difference is *within* breeds. It does not seem to correspond to body size, either, except that the one runt is also the least-feathered.

    I assume this is normal, but I am just curious, does it relate to anything meaningful, like pullet/cockerel or growth rate or whatever? Or is it just weird meaningless variation?

    All opinions appreciated,

    Pat, having a 'biologist' moment [​IMG]
  2. HenMamma

    HenMamma Songster

    May 10, 2008
    Emmet TWP, MI
    I noticed the same thing with my 2 white rocks. One has all the wing, chest and back feathers while the other just has wing and the beginnings of a tail. Odd.
  3. pixiechic

    pixiechic Songster

    Apr 23, 2008
    North GA
    It's amazing to me too. I have 15 chicks who are exactly the same age, and almost all are growing feathers at different rates. Aren't those tiny tails hilarious?
  4. conny63malies

    conny63malies Crowing

    Mar 22, 2008
    Annetta Kentucky
    my over three week old banty cochin runt "dumdum chicken" still doesnt have tail feathers. s/he just got most of the wing feathers, but his hatch buddies are almost all the way feathered , go figure.
  5. BearSwampChick

    BearSwampChick Chicken Sensei

    Jan 10, 2008
    Marysville, OH
    I've been wondering the same thing. My SS are the same age. One is huge with lots of big girl feathers and the other one is about 1/3 the size and very few BG feathers. The rest of the breeds seem to be about the same rate of growth.

  6. crooked stripe

    crooked stripe Songster

    Jan 14, 2008
    N.E Ohio- Suffield
    I noticed that with my first 15 the hens seem to feather faster. The roos out numbered the hens. 8 roos and 7 hens. This might just be mine because I am no expert. John
  7. pattycake

    pattycake Songster

    May 7, 2007
    fingerlakes, ny
    Yep, I had three Jersey giants who had three different tail types, right up to laying age -- one had no tail at all, just like one of my Speckled Sussexes. Now they all look the same.

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