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Broken Blood Feather On Chick In Nest?

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This is the chick in question, about 17 days old. Actually, the previous day, I had found a different chick in that nest with one small drip of dried blood that looked like it had come from the tip of a wing feather. But I wasn't alarmed, just watchful. Then the next morning, this chick had what appears to be bleeding from both wings. There is dried blood on the body beneath where the wing tips lie, but no injury there.

 

 

 

I checked her over very thoroughly, and all I can figure is that the ends of her newly forming primary flight feathers are a little chewed, and that must be where the bleeding came from. There's no sign of plucking, the shafts of all the blood feathers look good, to my eye. I think that either the mother or a sibling just got to nibbling a little roughly.

 

 

 

After a lot of considering my options, I didn't trust leaving them with the mother, and I felt that the youngest chick, an immature 13 day old, was too young to be raised by the father. Since I am already hand feeding their oldest three siblings, I decided to pull these remaining three chicks and hand feed them as well. So I've split up the parents and taken the nest box away.

 

 

 

I just want to know what you more experienced breeders think of the chick. Here are more photos.

 

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QO3maybedamagedbloodfeathers4.jpg

 

 

 

QO3maybedamagedbloodfeathers.jpg

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My gut feel is that there would be more evidence of damage if it were the parents. Chewing the ends of the wing tips wouldn't cause bleeding and if they were chewing the quills they would be obviously damaged.

 

Very hard to say what caused it without seeing. It could be that the blood came from somewhere else and leached into the wing.

 

If I found this in my nest I would keep and eye on it but wouldnt be to concerned if the chick looked fit.

Edited by fordmob

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I would to say the same as Dan Finny, if it was the hen you would think she would have all the down off buy now

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Hi I agree with the above but I just wonder why you think the hen is to blame & not the cock? Yours B. J.

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I agree with Fordmob.

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I agree with Fordmob, too. It seems that the blood only came from one or two feathers per side, and spread around, making me think that all the feathers were bleeding. I was able to get some better photos, that show where I think the damage occured:

 

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The thing is, if the mother (or yes, BJ, perhaps the father) didn't break those feathers, what would have?

 

 

I suppose I have jumped the gun, removing the chicks from the nest. I guess I was afraid that this was the tip of the iceberg, and a major assault was likely to occur next. Although this hen has been a very diligent mother, very gentle, too. Whenever she wants my hand out of the nest box, she only bites me very lightly. :)

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From those photos it definitely isnt feather plucking but may turn out to be a feather issue/disease I reckon.

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Oh dear, that would be terrible!

 

Well, I guess I'll just have to keep my eye on it.

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I have no clue about french moult, but could this be it? I really don'[t know much, other then it's a feather disease.

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I have no clue about french moult, but could this be it?

 

 

Not likely ........... the first signs would be loss of flights and tail...............however it may develop that way within a week or two so watch and see.

 

Possible other causes might possibly be feather quill mites ( mites inside the feather quill in the bloodstream ).

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I have no clue about french moult, but could this be it?

 

 

Not likely ........... the first signs would be loss of flights and tail...............however it may develop that way within a week or two so watch and see.

 

Possible other causes might possibly be feather quill mites ( mites inside the feather quill in the bloodstream ).

 

Well, French Molt was actually the first thing that jumped to my mind, along with the question about the parents. I'll definitely be watching to see what happens next. I guess the good thing about hand raising her is that I'll be checking on her several times a day, instead of just twice. I guess I'll be watching the rest of the chicks for signs, as well. It's probably a good thing they're not living in that wooden nest box, anymore.

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I'm happy to say that the chick in question here has grown up fine. I kept my eye out for any further signs of trouble with her, and there were none. Her flight feathers look fine to me, and she flies well. Here's some pics:

 

QO3skybluecinnamonopalinegreywing.jpg

 

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I was concerned about French molt for a while, because there was a different problem chick in that nest. When I pulled the chicks from the nest and started hand raising them, the youngest one looked "off" to me. There was something not quite right about it. In fact, it held its head back at an odd angle, and moved around in circles a lot. Sometimes it would bend its head back so far, that it would fall over. But it was always able to get back up.

 

I remember thinking that it would probably be a waste of time to feed it, as it didn't seem well, and I didn't think it would live. But for the next week, it grew well and its pin feathers grew in more each day, so I started to get my hopes up. Then one day it just took a nose dive, and by the next morning, it was dead. I had been doing a lot of reading up on French molt, just in case, and the timing of this chick's death was in keeping for deaths in the nest from French Molt. But I never saw any other single problem from any of the siblings. (Except there was one chick that had died earlier, at two days old, which I had thought at the time was lack of feeding on the mother's part.) And there were two dead in shell eggs. (Plus three clear, it was a huge number of eggs- 10 of her own and two fosters.)

 

So I don't know. Are two dead chicks and two dead in shell eggs enough to go on for thinking French Molt? Expecially considering that the chick with the bleeding pin feathers never developed any further trouble?

 

With no actual French Molt fledgling chick, I guess I'm going to assume it was something else.

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