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What do to about ratty feathers?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Chick-0-holic, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. Chick-0-holic

    Chick-0-holic Hatching

    Jan 21, 2009
    A few of my birds are getting "ratty" feathers, I was really hoping to show them in the spring (my first time showing), but with the feathers the way the are I won't be able to.
    Someone had told me once to pull any picked, ratty, broken feathers out so that new ones can grow back. Is this true? If so how long do the new feathers take to come back? And if the whole tail is bad, should I pull it all out, or just do some every day, or every other day or something?
    Is there anything else I could do?

    I will be showing japs, phoenix and silver spangled hamburgs.

    Any help would be appreciated! Thanks everyone.
  2. chickenlady

    chickenlady Songster

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    First find out why they are ratty. Lots of times this is due to mite or lice infestation that lives/feeds off the shaft of the feathers. I believe after feathers are pulled it takes 3 months to fully grow back in, could be wrong on this but that is what I read. Make sure you pull the feather out at the base of it. If any part of it is left in, a new feather will not grow until the birds molt. I would not pull the entire tail. Pick only the worst ones.
  3. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    If they're getting ready to molt they can also start looking pretty ratty.
  4. Chick-0-holic

    Chick-0-holic Hatching

    Jan 21, 2009
    No they aren't moulting, just the feathers are getting picked and rubbed, its mostly just on the tips of their wings and tails. I can get a pic if needed.
  5. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    Unfortunately, the picking situation needs to be rectified before the birds ready for show.

    Remove the birds you are wanting to show and put them into cages BY THEMSELVES. I would just leave their ratty feathers in, especially since pulling them out completely can damage the feather follicles. I WOULD pull the tail feathers if they are just absolutely awful. Tail-feathers are the most difficult to get to grow in time.

    If you can post photos...it will definitely help to decide on the best course of action with them. Feathers can take anywhere from a month to 3 months to completely grow in. Tailfeathers being the longest ones to come in (especially on long-tailed breeds).

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