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.
Posted by Erica Bandanna at 7:50 PM