white on tips of feathers?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Hennyhandler, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. Hennyhandler

    Hennyhandler SilkieJax

    Jun 10, 2009
    It is really cold here and i have been doing a lot to prepare for the next couple of days. I realized that on the back of some of the chicken's necks where the feathers are more like quills there is this white powder attached to the ends. It looks exactly like soft, thin frost. Anyone else out there experience this? And if this is frost than does this indicate that they are really not as warm as I thought? Only some have this to remind you and it doesn't seem to bother them none. They don't huddle on the roost at night either. ANY info would be appreciated.
  2. jenjscott

    jenjscott Mosquito Beach Poultry

    May 24, 2008
    Southeast Arkansas
    Thats just the remnants of the covering that comes in with new feathers. Nothing to worry about.
  3. Hennyhandler

    Hennyhandler SilkieJax

    Jun 10, 2009
    I'm glad that it isn't frost.[​IMG] Could you explain what it is a little more though? I'm not sure I get it all that well.
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If you look at the feathers starting to grow in, when they are still like little porcupine quills, you will see that they are covered in a sheath or cuticle. Sort of like the part of a shoelace tip that is wrapped in plastic to keep it from fraying when you push it through the holes, yes? As the featehr grows out and expands and becomes a real feather, the material of that cuticle flakes away. Some of it is fine dust and some of it is in sort of mica-like flakes.

    If you want to convince yourself the stuff isn't frost, wipe some onto your fingers. If it melts, it was frost (but I'm pretty certain yours isn't) - if it stays there, it is chicken dust/dander/etc [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. Hennyhandler

    Hennyhandler SilkieJax

    Jun 10, 2009
    Oh wow that makes a whole lot of sense now. [​IMG] And now that I think about it that may be the one that had a spot on her neck that had been getting bald for a little bit there. I never thought about that with the freezing temps on my mind. Thank you so much. Now, this brings up another question [​IMG] that I hope you can answer. If these feathers are comuing back in will the ones on the hens back right above her tail do the same thing or do I need to put a saddle on her?
  6. Terri O

    Terri O Chillin' With My Peeps

    You might have to--depending on your rooster. Or, if you have five roosters and two hens! The feathers will come back if the new ones arent constantly worn off. I got some chickens one that the guy told me were production birds so that is why they are "bare!" Well, they are fully feathered now! Still laying eggs but I have a bunch of girls to only a few roosters. HTH--Terri O in WI
  7. Jonathanq1

    Jonathanq1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2009
    Patandchickens thanks for that excellent explanation I was also curious about that.
  8. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    That is why baby chicks make so much "dust" - really it's dander from the rapid feathering!!!
  9. Hennyhandler

    Hennyhandler SilkieJax

    Jun 10, 2009
    Thank You!!! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010

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