When wing feathers emerge Experienced Folks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MamaKitty913, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. MamaKitty913

    MamaKitty913 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northrenbornlanow
    Hi, I've been reading up on of all things chicken :) And in a book by Jay Rossier he states that by observing a chickens wing feathers during the molt one can determine if a hen will be a "soft" or "hard" molter. He says that fast molters will have more than 1 wing feather at a time lost and that it takes six weeks to grow new ones. While a slow molter will have 1 primary wing feather lost (also taking 6 weeks to replace) and in 2 weeks or so another one feather loss. Have you experienced this difference? Do you have pictures? I'm asking since my new chicks are do to arrive the week of 2/17/14 and I'd like to know if this pattern will hold true when they are chicks? Should I watch for this to help determine who should be a slow molter/fast molter? And should this help me determine which of my hens would be best for laying eggs vs. who should be soup? [​IMG]
     
  2. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nope, feather emergence for chicks has never been an indicator for me as to who'll molt how.

    However, I have observed that cockerals tend to have their tail feathers emerge first - and pullets lag behind a good three or four days in tail feather emerging.

    Good luck! (Chickens for 4yrs now - incubating and brooding on dining room table for 2yrs with three different breeds - all results the same with regards to tail feather emerging).
     
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  3. MamaKitty913

    MamaKitty913 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northrenbornlanow
    Well after all the reading on other threads I thought I'd get more than one opinion, lol :) No offense to you Life in my home area Chicago land (born in Elgin).
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    MamaK, I think the wing feather loss that you are referring to, is when the chicken actually starts her molt. What the author is saying, is that if she looses 2 feathers at a time, she is loosing them faster, and then will grow them in faster, thus returning to lay faster than her slow molting sister.
     
  5. MamaKitty913

    MamaKitty913 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northrenbornlanow
    Thanks Lazy G., is this a true statement in your experience? Does it take 6 weeks for the first primary feathers (and those that follow "two weeks later") to return? And when a chick first gets it's primary wing feathers if they come in 1 at a time vs. 2 at a time can that help determine which hen might have a slower (thus harder) molt? Maybe we could try it and see with all these new babies?
     
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Lazy is on the right track. One feather, two feather, three feather molts etc is one way that commercial egg producers use to evaluate the fitness of their laying hens to remain with the flock. It refers to the axial feathers on the ends or tips of the wings and the fact they are usually shed in left-right pairs. Its used to determine which hen is the most likely to be laying at the MOMENT. There are other ways as well, like the beak test, the eye ring test, the vent and the chicken foot test. The purpose of these test is to remove the dead wood from a layer flock.

    If you decide to use these tests study them well because it runs counter to what most backyard chicken keepers would expect. When READ WRONG these test can result in a flock of 24 hens that are currently laying 12 eggs per day becoming a flock of 12 hens that are currently laying ZERO eggs per day.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I do a lot of reading and have very limited experience. I can tell you that the girl that had the hardest molt last fall and into the winter (in my very small flock of 5 birds) has yet to return to lay. My girls didn't read the books like I did, or they wouldn't have bothered to molt at all b/c they were only about 8 months old.

    CGT: Can you explain about culling the wrong way when using molt speed as a culling criteria??? (More reading for me!)
     
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't think I am sufficiently versed in it and it has been a long time since I used it in a commercial manner. I suggest that you Google " Laying hen eye ring test or hen vent color test or any of the other tests like the yellow skined or yellow shanked hen test. You may also get the results you want by Googling "how commercial egg farmers determine which hen is laying".

    PM me if you don't find what you want and I will see if I can get any hits from the Poultry Science Departments at the Land Grant or agricultural colleges.
    It has to be out there.

    When you read up on it you'll understand what I meant by the 24 hen remark. In a laying hen the hen currently laying is often not the most good looking. A red head and face for instance is the backyarder's gold standard for a hen. All it really means is that this hen is likely to start laying soon, but soon sometimes never comes. Therefor a commercial producer will use a red head as well as other physical appearances to cull his hens. Hope this helps some but it may confuse, sorry.

    What the commercial egg producer and the backyarder who isn't running a rest home for hens wants to know from each and every hen is, "What have you done for me recently?"
     
  9. MamaKitty913

    MamaKitty913 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northrenbornlanow
    Thanks so much for taking time to answer the skin/shank/vent I've read about and seen as a child but I had not heard about the "eye ring test" And honestly I do want meat and eggs but more than that I want this first time having chickens to be good for my family and the chickens! We are very poor but blessed and I believe an individual reeps what they sow. And so I want to be as kind as possible in all my actions. After looking at some of the poor birds molting I just wondered if I should work toward "easy" molting in my hens offspring. Some one posted a link to "The call of the hen" available for free https://archive.org/stream/cu31924003144031#page/n59/mode/2up it has a lot of information about chickens and I found I enjoyed most of it. I'm starting a hen house or laying flock for my family of 4 humans, 2 dogs, and alot of rescue cats. I am allergic to eggs so for me it will be the joy of providing for my family in a cost effecient way, but more for the joy of chickens. :) My order from McMurrary will be here sometime between the 17th and ? So I'm really egg-cited! lol. And as my chicks feather I'm going to try and see if this has any truth to it but first they have to live long enough to get those feathers! First things first, right? I really do appreciate talking with ya'll!
     

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