*update problem solved* Feathes changing color by 20 weeks of age??

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by popcornpuppy, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. popcornpuppy

    popcornpuppy Songster

    Jun 19, 2009
    Holland, Massachusetts
    *UPDATE* After hours of research I found the answer. The black/gray that my Reds have is called smutt. It is needed to keep the reds dark or they will lose their dark red color after about 3 generations. Once they reach maturity they should absorb most of the smutt and be red. I wanted to give this update to put everyone at rest and give answers to anyone who may have similar questions in the future. My Reds are Reds, I am just paranoid, but pleased. Thanks to those who responded to the original post. I always like to get a second, third, etc. opinion when I'm not sure about something.

    original question:
    I posted a what "what breed is this" question the other day because my 7 week old pullets that are supossed to be RIR's have gray on the underside of their saddle feathers. RIR's are supossed to be red throuhout, with maybe some black on the wings and tails. Buckeyes have gray on the underside of the saddle feathes.
    here is the link if you want to see photos:
    I called the hatchery to ask if there was a mix up or if they were hybrids. The hachery told me they are true RIR's and to check the feathers again at 20 weeks of age to see if the color had changed.
    Here is My question: If the chicks are fully feathered at this point, how are the feathers going to "change color"? I know that by 20 weeks they should be mature and ready to lay, but does age have an effect on feather color?
    I don't have enough experience in this area to know if the hatchery is being honest with me. Please help me if you know the answer.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  2. Dustin Biery

    Dustin Biery Songster

    Feb 4, 2007
    Mulberry, Arkansas
    I believe that RIR should be red throughout. I do not remember which hatchery it was, but there is one that others here have mentioned that always tells their customers to wait until 20 weeks for everything, even if the wrong breed is shipped. Think it is just a policy.
  3. kandoos

    kandoos Taking a Break

    Jul 22, 2009
    Ok, first of all I'm Swiss so my English isn't very good.
    Feather changes by time, the color of chick's feathers when it hatches will ( in some breeds ) totally change, so It's a hard issue to tell breed or sex of a chick that is not mature.
  4. Dustin Biery

    Dustin Biery Songster

    Feb 4, 2007
    Mulberry, Arkansas
    But even in juvinile feathers, they usually wont be exact, but think 20 weeks is a little old to be determining if you have received the wrong breed.
  5. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    I think the question is whether the feathers will change colour once they are grown out, and the answer is no, except for staining or sunburn or similar external causes. However, as new feathers grow in they may be different than the ones that molt out.

    I had a blue mottled (allegedly, she may have been splash mottled or overly mottled (I think it was called outrageous mottling or something like that?)). I had her for about a year and a half. Over that time she went from about 50/50 blue and white to blue limited to her back, maybe 25% blue/75% white there, to almost completely white--wish I had progressive photos of her, but the only ones I have were somewhere in that middle stage.

    My original silkie was completely white for several years, as he aged he grew in more and more dark blue feathers, mostly on his back, a few in his tail.

    Buff silkies often become clearer as they age, growing buff feathers to replace black ones

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