Molt and feather condition - OEGB Int'l Society

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion

Molt and feather condition

edited September 2014 in User Suggestions
My cockerels molted everything but there main sickle feathers over the summer. I feed 20% chick starter and was wanting y'all's thoughts on why they may not molt baby sickle feathers. Also anyone can add what they like to do to improve feather condition.


  • Shane,
    I have used everything from dog food, cat food, floating fish food and hog feed when the birds are molting. The best I have found yet at the most cost effective means is floating fish food and hog feed, I also allow a great deal of oats in the form of sweet grain.
    The high fat and oil with multiple protein sources seems to help but that has been my experience.
    I raise my birds on free choice of all the above with a grain mix I have made as well.
    The Grains and Sunflower seeds (black oil sunflower) help tighten the feather while the fats and oils help add the sheen, I have had some with so much oil when trying to bath was more like a duck, the water just beads up. The birds glisten in the sun I like them that way but that's me.
  • edited September 2014
    I have just tried a mix of scratch(cracked corn and wheat), sweet horse feed, wild bird mix that includes sunflower seed, and fish pellets. This sounds close to what you are feeding. How do you get your birds to eat the fish pellets?
    I've had cockerels that didn't molt their sickle feathers too Shane and I couldn't figure it out either. Mine were hatched late and that could have been the reason.
  • Barry,
    My birds look forward to them, they are the treat they get when I come by daily. Some times it's bread or grain but most often fish food something to eat from the hand.
    The young birds just get 4 tubs laid out that they eat from free choice and the fish pellets are the slowest but highest in protein that way they get what they need not just what I give them.
  • Mine are very slow in eating the pellets but they clean up everything else.
  • Barry mine are the same way they pick around them but eventually eat them. I have 2 test birds that it is the only thing they get and they eat it right up and are in probably the best shape of everything I got
  • How do you tell the difference between baby feathers and adult feathers in there wings
  • Just curious do you find that chickens will eat what they need if offered different choices? or will they only eat what tastes good to them even when it's not really all that good for them, say like....cracked corn? I'm wondering if you set out whole oats, cracked corn, mash, breads what would disappear first? I know mine eat a lot of whole oats but that's because that's their only choice. I start them on it first as chicks when they are able to eat whole grains. Mine too are hard to get water to soak into their feathers. It just beads up like a duck they have so much oil and sheen to their feathers. any comments, ideas?
    Bonnie W
  • If you only could feed one grain to poultry oats would be best.dr. cawley with tx. a and m college long ago said that at one of his sessions. Small amounts of water should bead off feathers.
  • hey guys, what kind of sweet feed is the best and has the most grain in it. and what kind of fish pellets is best?
  • kc bantams , sweet feed has molasses in it , molasses can cause purple barring
  • fun and games , i have the article by bill cawley , hes right theres a lot of energy in oats , as far as giving treats , really a chicken doesnt know what a treat is , treats is a commercial way to get more money out of you , , if what youre feeding keeps your birds in good shape , why change ? really you dont need to change your feed very much , as when you do it throws the birds off , when i had game birds , i used to change feed about every time some one had something new , i finally realized that that didnt work very well , what works for some one else , may not work for you theres a few basic feeds , that you can use that works well , i been reading the articles on conditioning feeds , when i put birds up for a show , my feed changes very little if any , theres no magic bullet
  • Your right there.alot of research has been done on poultry feed.
  • Bonnie use a lil bit of dawn dish washing liquid. Just ensure when washing them you give yourself a week or so to allow the natural oils to replenish before taking to a show.
  • if I pull all tail feathers out ?How long should I expect to grow them back,got a cockeral that is all broke up only way would be to pull them out and let them regrow....any problems with that?
  • When you pull tail feathers out, it usually takes about 8 weeks to regrow them and the main sickles take even longer. I've got some sickles that I pulled in June that still have not fully grown out.
  • Randall, actually that's what I do use for bathing Dawn the blue kind. I usually bathe them a good week in advance then they aren't digging and scratching the day of the show like so many I see. You just know they were only bathed the night before. I used all sorts of shampoos before switching to Dawn and all they did were blister and peel their heads. Then I figured if it's safe enough to use on all those oil spill ducks it would be safe to use on chickens too.
  • I have never washed a oe, except white oe.
  • I don't wash mine either.
  • Im having a problem with keeping my birds wings in good shape its the very tip of the feathers my pens are all wire i think that has something to do with it anybody else have this problem or any advice to share
Sign In or Register to comment.