Rooster going through the preening motions but not making contact with feathers ??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Barred Feather, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. Barred Feather

    Barred Feather Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 25, 2012
    I have a 5 1/2 year old rooster that is not preening his new growing feathers. Occasionally he makes the motion to preen but he doesn't actually touch the feathers, rather he's preening in the air close to the feathers. He does the same motion in the air if you touch the feathers that need preening (still in feather casings.) My guess is he's getting too old physically or mentally to preen properly. But is 5 years really that old? Has anyone seen this before or offer any reasoning? I've been helping the old guy out, but rather he'd take care of it himself!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    He's not that old, but it's possible some arthritis is setting in at his age.

    It's possible the new feathers itch but are still uncomfortable to touch, and aren't done growing in enough to remove the sheath.

    Has he been checked for lice and mites? Sometimes they can get a bit out of control this time of year.

    Another possibility is he isn't feeling well but is going through the motions so he doesn't appear to be unwell.
     
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  3. Barred Feather

    Barred Feather Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 25, 2012
    Thanks! All great thoughts! I didn't think he was that old either, but we've noticed slowing down. I checked for lice and mites and didn't see any or the evidence; although, I'll admit I've never actually seen any anytime. I bet you're right, he isn't feeling well, arthritis, or something, but I can't see any other signs of illness. This has been going on for some time.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Do you feed a layer ration? I found that it ages roosters to consume all that calcium.
     
  5. Barred Feather

    Barred Feather Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, I feed a layer ration since most of the chickens are hens. It makes sense that wouldn't be the right nutrition needs for a rooster. hmmm.
     
  6. IdyllwildAcres

    IdyllwildAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would switch to an all flock with oyster shells on the side for the layers....

    Gary
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I have noticed over the years that my roosters fed layer often died around age 4. 2 years ago I switched to an All Flock and my than 4 year old rooster was looking like he wasn't going to go another year, he was sluggish and wasn't acting right. After I switched he slowly can around and became more vigorous and active. He will be 6 this year. My bantam roosters who didn't get layer due to there being chicks in the flock most years always lived longer. Even the couple of rooster on the outskirts of my flock who mostly live on scratch lived longer than those eating layer daily. So I don't feed layer anymore and my flock has been more healthy for it.
     

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