Very naive Australorp question, yellow feet?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Aug 6, 2010
Central Washington State
I have 13 Australorp pullets that are 10 weeks old. They all arrived together in an order from Murray McMurray hatchery. They all look the same EXCEPT that I have one with some yellowing on the beak and yellowing around the eyes. The bottoms of her feet are VERY yellow, I mean a bright, intense yellow!

I did have to isolate some of these birds due to pecking injuries. We cleaned the wounds well and used duct tape to cover their plucked areas and to prevent further injuries. They all seem to have healed nicely and are re-feathering in very well. I did, however, find what I think was an ingrown feather when I removed her duct tape. It had grown out and then curved around, and was growing back in. I was able to remove the feather quite easily, it didn't require any pulling at all. That's when I wondered if she might not have an infection or something. Her appetite seems good and she free ranges around my yard with no sign of illness. Other than the yellow she looks just like the rest of them. She has the speckled look on her legs and on the top her feet just like the others - but the rest of them are all a pinkish tone along the bottoms of their feet. Is she something other than an Australorp or a an Australorp with a genetic defect? Or do I need to be concerned that this is a possible sign of illness or infection? I really don't think I'm dealing with a Jersey Giant because all 13 of them are the same size and look identical except for the yellow, and they were all from the same hatchery, shipped at the same time. I just want to be sure I'm not neglecting a possibly sick bird, though she really doesn't show any sign of illness.

I'm sure that shows just what a "newbie" chicken owner I am, but I sure do appreciate any suggestions you have to offer.

Actually, hatchery Australorps and hatchery Jersey Giants are almost impossible to tell apart. Australorps have white skin, whereas Jersey Giants have yellow skin.

More than likely, your Australorp is a Jersey Giant that got mixed up at the hatchery because, well, both chicks are black and can easily be confused by the hatchery personnel.
Do you think they'd still be the same size at 10 weeks? Our yellow-footed pullet is no bigger than all the others and, outside of the yellow, there seems to be no distinguishing differences. Admittedly, I'm a total novice with no experience at all in raising chickens, so I'm not sure I'd recognize a difference even if there were some. The nearly neon yellow feet, however was obvious enough for even me to be able to notice
Unfortunately, I have not seen a significant size difference between hatchery Australorps and hatchery Jersey Giants. Hatcheries do not breed their birds according to the standard but breed for high egg production instead. This high egg production is negatively correlated to size. (Think Leghorn vs. Cochin, the Leghorn is MUCH smaller but lays many more eggs.) The larger the bird, the more nutrients are used towards the body instead of towards reproductive success. So, as birds are bred in the hatchery, the more productive birds stay as breeders because they will make money for the hatchery than birds that take longer to reach sexual maturity, are larger and heavier and eat more and overall have decreased egg production.

Now, breeders who breed towards the standard do have productiveness in mind, but their first and foremost thought is towards the conformation of the bird instead of how productive the bird is.

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