Wire-haired pullet?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Sunny Flowers, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. Sunny Flowers

    Sunny Flowers Out Of The Brooder

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    Can you folks educate me about this SFH's feathers? Snowbell is four months old and has started to get texture for want of a better word. [​IMG]
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  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    If that's 4 months old it's almost certainly a cockerel.

    The type of feathering showing through could be down to a few things but thyroid problems is one.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. Sunny Flowers

    Sunny Flowers Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you Chooks4life. I will look into the potential thyroid issue. I was hoping to get more feedback in case this is a health problem I need to know about so I appreciate your comment. We'll know soon about sex, either way:)
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    You're welcome. :) Hope it's nothing serious.

    Not necessarily; if it's a thyroid problem, complete absence of sexual characteristics and traits, fertility, etc can occur, or you can get mixed traits. Just worth being aware of the possibility.

    Generally thyroid issues are largely caused by lack of iodine in the diet but either way there's a good chance it's either genetic or endocrine issues you're seeing here; and it can be both, too, i.e. a genetic issue with the thyroid or endocrine system; could be a nutrition deficiency as well, even if it is the other problems too. Gets interconnected and complicated, lol. There's a lot of ways this result could come about.

    Best wishes with it. The wattles and comb are red so it's not in dire straits necessarily.
     
  5. Sunny Flowers

    Sunny Flowers Out Of The Brooder

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    Chooks4life: this is helpful info. Thank you again! I checked and I bought she/he 5.5 weeks ago as a 3 month old, so maybe a 4.5 month old? As to sex it does have some Roo behaviors but so did some of my other pullets at that age. I do seem to have the magic touch to buy girls and change them to Roos:) It's not a useful talent.

    I have no idea what I'm doing but I put vitamins in free choice water and added losol iodine to one waterer this morning. Interestingly the whole flock of 9 are gulping down the iodine water and ignoring the other waterers. I feed Scratch & Peck fermented and dry, and they free range daily.

    Any more you might share with me to help my pullets/cockerels? It does look like yet another call to the vet is in order.
     
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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  7. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    The vitamins you're offering may well cover the iodine assimilation requirements, should do, really... May not need to use the Brewer's Yeast at all. Just a thought.

    Best wishes.
     
  8. Sunny Flowers

    Sunny Flowers Out Of The Brooder

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    Chooks4life - you are a dream come true! Nutrition is a very high priority for me but I have no formal education in it and it sounds like you do. Or certainly a wealth of experience.
    I first got my Swedish Flower Hens (first chickens ever) this summer and I am feeding a highly recommended (by BYCers) feed while I sort out if I want to make my own. Meanwhile I have purchased 22 birds in order to end up with my little 5 (maybe 4) pullet flock. Specifically I purchased 11 four week olds from a breeder. Out of them I got 1 girl. I got four more 1 week olds, all boys. Then I drove two hours to another breeder to try my luck there. I got 1 girl whose toes were crooked (I didn’t see this). She subsequently broke her accessory toe (thumb) on the other foot jumping from the roost probably because her crooked toes couldn’t cushion the landing. She gimps around but maybe she’ll lay eggs. I also bought 3 newly hatched chicks and one two week old to keep them company. Of those 1 died from an infected yolk sac. Two are boys whom I adore and will do my best to keep, but our laws are against it. At that point, in desperation for girls I went back to breeder number 1 and bought 2 three month old pullets since surely you can sex them. One of those is Snowbell (Snowplow?).
    Chickens as daytime soap opera?
    I breed my pullets and cockerels before their first year precisely to get almost entirely male clutches for eating purposes, since lower iodine levels contribute to gender imbalance, favoring male offspring, and younger parents are lower in iodine.
    During this too many males summer I read about the younger pullets and hens producing disproportionate males. I think that is what I am experiencing since Breeder 1 got SFH in late 2012 and Breeder 2 in late 2013.
    If you're overfeeding stuff like lucerne cubes, or peas, or beans, or have legumes on the property which they're accessing at will, that could be the issue, but generally it's not overly common for this to cause such a problem. Worth reviewing what you're feeding them though, and what they may be able to access while freeranging, in case they're accessing toxins, whether artificial or natural, or are on a low value feed, or something like that.
    The first ingredient in S&P Grow is peas. But since I got Snow as a three month old it seems as likely this issue came with her/him(?).
    Your chook in question is pale, and pale birds/animals/humans require up to 6 times less copper, iodine, etc than dark ones, as pigmentation is comprised of nutrients including copper, sulfur, iodine etc. This is one reason people often tout dark animals as having superior flavor; they actually overall do have more nutritive value, all things being equal (i.e. a malnourished dark animal won't necessarily be 'richer' than a well nourished pale one). Pale animals and humans are generally adapted to very low nutrition diets and regions. That said it's not a golden rule and when it comes to modern breeds, especially commercial ones, you can safely toss some usually commonsense rules out the window, lol.
    Fascinating and new information to me. SFH’s are a rare heritage breed, which is one of the reasons I chose them. I do my best to stay away from modern, commercial, single focus breeding ie:size in all my purchases. We’re real fond of big in America. My garden is all heirloom and organic and I believe it provides more nutrition than the alternative.
    Health is an important factor to me. And interestingly I knew about pale= not so good in dogs, horses, many mammals. I just didn’t extrapolate it to chickens. Really I didn’t know exactly the nutrition angle you are talking about, only that white meant weakness – softer hooves, deafness, blindness, etc. Which does seem likely to correlate with less well nourished. I will keep this in mind.
    Iodine deficiency affects females of all species more than males as females need more, partly because long before reproductive age they're already storing the nutrients required to form offspring. Interestingly, all over the world and without much distinction between 'first and third worlds', iodine deficiency is epidemic in humans and our animals, and in humans it can cause an IQ drop of around 16 points. Iodine deficiency in mothers causes lifelong brain damage in offspring yet most of them will continue to appear normal and be considered for all intents and purposes normal; worth remembering next time you're on some internet forum and someone drags out that old derogatory quote: "most people have an IQ score below 100". Not that an IQ test is really a reliable measure of actual intelligence though, but poor diets have a lot to answer for in terms of causing many poor behaviors and illnesses in both humans and animals.
    I am one hundred percent on board with this. And I am hypothyroid. And I had iodine drops in my cupboard.
    I use kelp on all my animals to improve them --- dogs, cats, livestock of various species, birds, etc. It makes them healthier, smarter, calmer, more fertile, gives them more robust immune systems, more efficient digestive systems, and after a few generations of using kelp in their diets, you see each generation surpass the previous one in all ways.
    This makes good sense. I use kelp on all my plants and pets. Now I’m adding it to my diet and my chickies too.
    It can, though, change white birds/animals to different colors. Even older birds being put onto a diet with kelp can change coloration completely in everything: eggshell color, beak, irises, feathers, skin, scales, etc. Such birds are only pale because they lack sufficient nutrients, not because they are genetically supposed to be pale; however if you never gave them complete nutrition you could be wasting years of a breeding program not knowing what your animals are actually passing on. Complete nutrition is invaluable to ensure correct genetic inheritance and expression. You don't actually know what you're breeding until they're receiving complete nutrition, not the dozen or so nutrients deemed a 'complete' diet by most commercial feed manufacturers.
    I do have black based and blue based birds but only the one white. I am going to keep notes while I add kelp and see what happens with color. That said, I am only a back yard chicken keeper, for bug patrol and eggs. Although at this point I am considering breeding my own to get the healthiest birds possible. My two little boys are from a different import or line than most of my girls. I just have to keep them from bothering the neighbors to be successful.
    Another thing people use for proper inheritance and genetic expression is Apple Cider Vinegar (with 'the mother' in it)... Sounds weird until you realize the science behind it; ACV is high in natural potassium, which is anti-cancer, anti-radiation, and pro-heritability fidelity.
    I am familiar with this, have Braggs in my fridge and now am giving it to my chicks.
    Hypokalemia causes garbled transmission or even non-transmission of hereditary characteristics. When you see a family of humans, for example, in which one parent is over-represented phenotypically, the one not represented is in fact low in potassium (vitamin K) also known as hypokalemia, which can cause them to offer no visible genetic input to their offspring. Same is
    true for animals. Nutrition is incredibly important but still too often dismissed.

    One reason I am asking you all these questions ifs that my vet’s and my Dr. (not the current one) have traditionally been dismissive of talk of nutrition. I have come to believe they simply are not taught nutrition and I know the dog food companies often teach the nutrition class to vet students.
    I do supplement homemade raw milk kefir at a teaspoon or so a week each. It is supposed to be a good source of Vit K. I do hear lactose is not good for them, or me for that matter.
    We'll have to wait and see what gender your chook is, it seems, all bets are off when the hormone system is compromised, provided that's what is going on here. But there's probably many dozens of other things it could be. Still, giving them iodine and/or increased nutrition will only be good for them, unless you do something unnecessary like forcefeed megadoses of multivitamins for long stretches of time which could be fatal, as malnutrition is a term that includes both under and over nutrition.
    What were you seeing in saying Snow was likely male? I have seen the pointy feathers but chocked it up to the feather problem. But with your insight I remember when the breeder first held her out – her head was and is quite masculine. And her upright posture. She/he is now smaller than the hatch mate who came with her, which would speak to nutrition also. I now suspect Snow is as much male as he’s able to be right now. It will be interesting to see what change I can effect.
    I will follow your lead and give iodine as you suggest. I don’t force anything except an initial two drops of multi vitamin when they first get here. I plan to also add kelp for us all and keep a water dish out with multi vitamins in it. That has B-12. I also grow meal worms for them – they get a few a day. I mostly want them to free range for their bugs.
    Sounds like that may be just what they need then. They may well overdose for a bit, if they're gorging, so while short term overdose shouldn't hurt them it would be worth keeping an eye on them and possibly removing the iodine-water for every second day or so to allow their systems to register the input and settle their desperate consumption to more sustainable levels. Apparently iodine and B12 are synergists specifically interdependent so you may need an additional dose of B12 to help them digest it properly. Brewer's Yeast can do that. Most nutrients are processed or synthesized in conjunction with a spectrum of others so the more complete the spectrum of nutrients, and the more natural, the better.
    S&P Grower Ingredients: won’t allow me to copy and paste, grrr.
    http://www.scratchandpeck.com/product/naturally-free-grower/#
    Another note: Breeder 1 keeps all his chickens in small cages stacked. They are on wire and the SFH’s who have rich yellow legs and beaks when I raise them have white legs and beaks. They are in a barn without sunlight. Their leg color is changing since I have had Snow and sister Dahlia. At first they had trouble walking on the ground and it took a couple of weeks for that to look normal. I like to get my pets as early as possible because of my beliefs in the nutrition and exercise benefits. These two are the oldest chickens I have gotten and I wonder how much of a part that played in Snow’s situation.
    That said all my dogs are rescues whom I got older from shelters. They had clearly been fed crap kibble (tooth quality) and I just do the best I can for the rest of their lives. But I am not planning to eat their eggsJ
    I can’t thank you enough. I feel like I’ve just been to class and for me that’s a wonderful feeling! I have learned so much and I intend to put it into practice immediately and track the results, with Snow at least.
     
  9. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Another note: Breeder 1 keeps all his chickens in small cages stacked. They are on wire and the SFH’s who have rich yellow legs and beaks when I raise them have white legs and beaks. They are in a barn without sunlight. Their leg color is changing since I have had Snow and sister Dahlia. At first they had trouble walking on the ground and it took a couple of weeks for that to look normal. I like to get my pets as early as possible because of my beliefs in the nutrition and exercise benefits. These two are the oldest chickens I have gotten and I wonder how much of a part that played in Snow’s situation.

    That's a sorry state of affairs, poor chooks. Rearing has a massive impact for sure, but so does multi generational rearing and living conditions; you can't fix in one generation what took a few generations to achieve, generally. You can however get them into a nice and happy state. The healthiest chicks you'll ever see will be those from chooks you've reared for a good few generations with good nutrition, sunshine and active lifestyles.

    I can’t thank you enough. I feel like I’ve just been to class and for me that’s a wonderful feeling! I have learned so much and I intend to put it into practice immediately and track the results, with Snow at least.

    You're welcome, wish you all the best with your projects.
     

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