Why do we need another chicken blog or forum?

Many chicken forums are moderated to sell commercial feed, chemicals and ideology.
I prefer to find my own balance between nature, welfare and cost in raising happy chickens.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The sussex maturing... With odd feathers.

These are the two light sussex cockerels I kept for possible breeding. The smaller one is above.

However the largest of the two has very odd feathering on his wings — almost 'angel wing' (though that's a waterbird phenomenon).

This is him below:

And again (bad photo but you can see the way his wingtips curl out if you look closely at the left hand wing):

It's a little like photos I've seen of helicopter disease (malabsorption syndrome or infectious runting-stunting or whatever you like to call it), however this bird is definitely not stunted. He was the largest of his brood.

The only other thing I can attribute it to is genetics... Remember the sussex (show birds) all hatched with down abnormalities, and these seemed to be associated with feathering abnormalities as well. Meanwhile a brown layer that hatched among the brood feathered normally.

Diet may be connected, but I wonder sometimes if I'm too quick to blame diet for any glitches I see... Certainly the number of warnings I've read about only feeding commercial feed makes me feel I'm out on a limb. At any rate the sussex have been different from all my other birds.

I guess I should try to keep in mind the basic goals: breeding hardy birds that can sustain themselves and help sustain the family without having to employ nutrition scientists or buy fake food. If the sussex can't thrive on a varied diet without rocket-science nutrition then perhaps they aren't the right birds for here.

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