Ugly lavender chicks! What's wrong?

jwyles

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My lavender chicks that I received from a nice man who is just a small time hobby breeder are really really ugly. If my estimation is right these birds are going on 6-7 weeks old and they have looked scraggly since I got them about 3 weeks ago. I read that the lavender gene is linked to tattered feathers with that characteristic being present in many birds and I just assumed that was the case however this morning this little guy had me wondering if there isn't something else going on. I noticed he is more bald around his face than normal and the bald spots seem red. He is beginning to get some adult feathers; is this just the fragile down of a tattered feather lavender chick falling out as they scratch (I know it's itchy when new feathers come in) or does this look like something else going on? I checked for ear and skin mites and saw nothing. Also if this is tattered feathers are there any other health issues associated with it that I need to look out for?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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They do appear to be going through one of their multiple baby molts. Have you observed them for feather picking? It's something that comes to mind based on where they are missing feathers. I have a couple of lavender Orpington chicks 3-4 weeks old and their feathers look strong, I had read about the problem that comes with the color, but so far mine look fine.
 

jwyles

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They do appear to be going through one of their multiple baby molts. Have you observed them for feather picking? It's something that comes to mind based on where they are missing feathers. I have a couple of lavender Orpington chicks 3-4 weeks old and their feathers look strong, I had read about the problem that comes with the color, but so far mine look fine.

You mean like other birds picking they feathers? No I haven't seen that and like I said they didn't look much better than this when I got them. They didn't even have beards or muffs. My EE and faverolle have both shed their down and grown in adult feathers but never lost their beards and muffs to this degree. He told me he had lost several chicks he found out to feeding them too low protein food and so I kept thinking with proper diet they would eventually start to look better.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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They do look under sized based on the size of the eyes relative to the head, but maybe that's because they are missing their muffs. I find scrambled eggs given daily is a wonderful protein boost and makes them grow quickly. It does give them stinky poop, but the reward is worth it to me. Hopefully with correct feed they should straighten out. Otherwise they appear healthy in the photos except the feathers.
 

jwyles

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They do look under sized based on the size of the eyes relative to the head, but maybe that's because they are missing their muffs. I find scrambled eggs given daily is a wonderful protein boost and makes them grow quickly. It does give them stinky poop, but the reward is worth it to me. Hopefully with correct feed they should straighten out. Otherwise they appear healthy in the photos except the feathers.
I will definitely give that a try. I've been giving them an organic
 

jwyles

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Sorry... my kids.... I've been giving an organic starter/Grower feed with 18% protein. Does that sound appropriate?
 

21hens-incharge

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I see a ton of new feathers coming in.
Do they dust bathe? I would think since your other birds don't have an issue that mites or lice are not likely.
If they were on to low of protein before you got them it could take a really long time to recover.
 

brucifer

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other than ugly feathers does anything about this bird look sick to you?
I agree with @oldhenlikesdogs . Your birds look fine. I don't see any disease at all. I raise several varieties of Orpingtons as well as FBCM, and sometimes chicks can look wretched when they lose their down and before all their sets of feathers come in. Also, sometimes there is late feathering with the black gene (lav is a recessive black gene). Since feathers are basically protein, increase your chicks consumption of protein, and that may help. The suggestion of scrambled eggs is a good one. Mealworms and cat-food kibble are other easy sources of protein that chicks love.

I have had birds that have looked just as bad as yours and turned out to be stunning, so I suggest that you be patient. Best of luck.
 

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