Weird question on how feather color works

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by pbjmaker, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. pbjmaker

    pbjmaker Crowing

    May 9, 2008
    Central Iowa
    This is my serama hen, Bella. She is mottled black. My question is - her tail was all black but a few months ago she got attacked by a hawk who pulled out all the feathers on one side of her tail. (no other injuries thank goodness - she's a fiesty one and faught him off)
    Anywho - when they finally grew back in recently - they are now half white. How does that work??

    Side that grew back in:


    Both sides used to look like this:

  2. Msbear

    Msbear Fancy Banties

    May 8, 2008
    Sharpsburg, MD.
    A lot of times mottling as well as splash and mille color changes as a bird ages. They tend to get whiter as they moult their youthful feathers. This is a case of artificial moulting, I do believe.

    Im so happy she survived the attack. Being such a small girl, she is incredily fortunate.

    This time next year, both sides of her tail should be matching once more.

    edited to say: I have also heard of excessive white in feathers due to stress, hence they are called stress feathers. This, very well, may be the case considering the circumstances in which she lost them. If this is the case, her next moult will bring back her original coloring.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  3. Same thing with my hen. She was attacked by a hawk and we believe her mate faught it off. (Thank goodness!) But now her once-black tail-feathers are tan-just like her body. I think the feather strains get messed up when they are 'molted out' at abnormal times. We don't mind it, considering that showing isn't in her future. But I don't think your hen will ever 'return to normal' until she molts 'correctly'. Could be wrong, though. [​IMG] Good luck!
  4. pbjmaker

    pbjmaker Crowing

    May 9, 2008
    Central Iowa
    I don't mind it either - just was wondering why it happened. She is my alpha roo's favorite girl and he still thinks shes purty! [​IMG]
  5. LilPeeps

    LilPeeps Songster

    Jan 13, 2007
    SE Mass
    Since she's a mottled, she will get more white with each molt.

    Also, sometimes when birds get stressed, black feathers will come in with white tips.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  6. Henk69

    Henk69 Songster

    Nov 29, 2008
    Groesbeek Netherlands
    Wow, you are lucky.
    The european gosshawk takes 2 large fowl cockerels at the same time. [​IMG]
  7. pbjmaker

    pbjmaker Crowing

    May 9, 2008
    Central Iowa
    This was a Harrison Hawk - not the biggest raptor. There is also a Perigan Falcon around here. They don't mess with my standard size chickens but have got two babies in the past.
  8. seriousbill

    seriousbill Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Quote:Quote:I think Henk is having us on a bit [​IMG] Our Red-tailed hawk is about the same size, but I don't think it could quite manage two of my 8.5 lb (3.8 kilo) Delaware cockerels at once. A pair of them could, though.

    Cooper's hawks are more of a problem with poultry around here, though. The Red-tails seldom bother the chickens.

    Edited to add: I've had roos grow in whitish feathers in the tail that molted out later.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008

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