Strange feathers

Nov 5, 2018
788
1,482
237
Birmingham UK
My rooster's tail feathers look strange. They have these damaged looking lines in them. He moulted about four months ago and grew these new tail feathers then. I can't remember exactly but I think they have been like this since they grew and that the old feathers there did not have these lines. I'm concerned it could be a sign of some kind of vitamin/mineral deficiency or something? Does anyone know?
20181129_135628.jpg
 

coach723

Free Ranging
6 Years
Feb 12, 2015
6,502
10,880
611
North Florida
I've never seen exactly that, kind of looks like he rubbed up against paint, but have had some color change following molt in some of my birds. I've had random feathers come in completely or mostly white, and then come back colored the next molt. I've always assumed it's from less than pure genetic lines, causing it. I've one bird (an EE) that was soft, creamy, yellow/white her first year and has gotten increasingly dark, going buff or tan in more places every year after molt. If you are feeding a balanced diet, and you are not seeing any other symptoms or health problems I would not worry too much. If you were showing or breeding for standard it would be a concern. Maybe someone else will have seen what you have.
 
Nov 5, 2018
788
1,482
237
Birmingham UK
Sorry I should have said, it is not coloured lines but more like holes. The lines in the photo are where the sunlight is coming through the feathers.
His health seems generally fine but he does get a lot of treats since he is spoiled rotten and dislikes the pellet feed. He lives in the house (long story) and I always worry his nutrition isn't right.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,609
137,684
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
My rooster's tail feathers look strange. They have these damaged looking lines in them. He moulted about four months ago and grew these new tail feathers then. I can't remember exactly but I think they have been like this since they grew and that the old feathers there did not have these lines. I'm concerned it could be a sign of some kind of vitamin/mineral deficiency or something? Does anyone know? View attachment 1602505
I think those are caused by diet. You get feathers with bars on them similar to those semi transparent streaks because of lack of vitamins and minerals, or sometimes just a change in diet, or a combination of diet and lack of grooming.
Less non nutritious treats may well solve the problem when the next set of feathers grow in.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,609
137,684
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
Sorry I should have said, it is not coloured lines but more like holes. The lines in the photo are where the sunlight is coming through the feathers.
His health seems generally fine but he does get a lot of treats since he is spoiled rotten and dislikes the pellet feed. He lives in the house (long story) and I always worry his nutrition isn't right.
To elaborate a bit.
Feather growth requires a certain amount of protein. In times where food is in short supply some free range chickens here get bars across their feathers where there hasn’t been sufficient protein and the necessary enzymes to digest it. A period of very bad weather where forage is poor can produce such bars. They are a bit similar to examining the rings when a tree is cut down. The rings give an indication of the conditions for that year. Feathers can do much the same.
 

LlamaGirl4

Crowing
Nov 2, 2018
387
2,202
272
NW Ohio
To elaborate a bit.
Feather growth requires a certain amount of protein. In times where food is in short supply some free range chickens here get bars across their feathers where there hasn’t been sufficient protein and the necessary enzymes to digest it. A period of very bad weather where forage is poor can produce such bars. They are a bit similar to examining the rings when a tree is cut down. The rings give an indication of the conditions for that year. Feathers can do much the same.
:goodpost:
 

coach723

Free Ranging
6 Years
Feb 12, 2015
6,502
10,880
611
North Florida
Sorry, I thought it was pigment, didn't see it as holes. :oops: I definitely would look at diet. Lots of things can effect feathers, not enough protein, missing vital vitamins, minerals, amino acids, even lack of sunlight or not enough sleep can have an impact. Since he's a house bird, any or all of those things might be in play. I would put him on a balanced flock raiser feed (he doesn't need the extra calcium in layer feed), keep treats to 10% of his diet, try to get him outside for some daylight every day that it's possible, and try to have his sleep hours as close to real sunup/sundown as you can, as they would be if he was outside. The feathers that are already there will be that way until they are replaced, but you have lots of time to make sure the next set is better. And hopefully get him more healthy over all. As said above, it's always a good idea to check over for mites/lice whenever there is a feather question. If it progresses and gets worse, then mites would be suspected.
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,752
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
I believe certain wormers can cause damage to new feathers if used during moult. If you didn't worm them recently then I would agree that it is probably a nutrient deficiency. I don't think depluming mites would make such a regular pattern as to create translucent bars like that.
 
Nov 5, 2018
788
1,482
237
Birmingham UK
Thank you everyone. I was suspicious it was caused by nutrition. I don't think it is mites and he sleeps according to sunrise and sunset pls gets regular sunshine. I will have to cut down on his treats and hopefully he will eat more of his pellets if he is hungry enough. I have also ordered some poultry vitamin tonic to give him.

Another thing is he doesn't get enough grit. He has access to a bowl of mixed grit all day every day next to his food bowl but never touches it. With the human food he keeps getting I know he needs grit for proper digestion. But how can I get him to eat some?
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom