Wet feather - mating damage?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by toadbriar, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. toadbriar

    toadbriar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My 3 girls seem a bit ragged from the shoulderblades down their backs. They've got 2 drakes who look flawless so I'm thinking it's heavy wear and tear that's damaging their feathers? I'm getting 3 eggs a day, and they're on Layena with free choice oyster shell. I mix scratch in as well now that it's cold, but they won't eat the corn. I give them some fresh kale every couple days. They have dry shavings in their shelters and a gravel floor pen (more of a frozen poop floor pen right now honestly) and they have a cement-mixing pan for water that gets dumped daily and has a de-icer. They have a roof over their pen and will get plastic windbreak stapled around it next weekend.

    I brought Sugar Bowl in for a warm bath and a closer look, she's got the dampest, rattiest-looking wings and back of all the girls. I don't see any mites. Her preen gland seems to be oily, it's a bump about the size of my pinkie nail, sticks up, and I can get my fingers around it, and it's firm. The back of her neck is a bit thin and pink. I know that's from mating.

    How can I keep the girls in better condition? I brought Sugar Bowl in because she was a bit fluffed in her wet areas, but happily going about her business. I don't want her to get worse. She's in a carrier in my office right now (quite bemused at the 4 brooder kids - I know I need more hens!) I'm waiting for her to dry off... but then what? [​IMG]

    Oh and it's like 17 degrees F here in MA. I was all tough about ducks being fine in cold weather - but not damp and ragged!!

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
  2. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

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    Jan 11, 2010
    Australia
    Unless you are wanting to have fertile eggs at the moment- can you separate them for a while?? Drakes in one pen and the girls in the other. I have often had to give girls a break after a few months when they start to look a bit bald. Space and warmth may be a issue to keep them apart- but as long as they are together- the boys will continue to pull feathers and damage them while mating with the ducks.
     
  3. toadbriar

    toadbriar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    central massacheezits
    yah I think I'm going to have to - no need of fertile eggs when it's this cold! Hopefully black oil sunflower seeds or other supplements can fatten them a bit, to compensate for the thinning. Hopefully she's not too bad off - I'd think she'd be holed up in the shelter if she were too chilly.
     

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