Beautifully shaped young yellow feathered cinnamon variegated Border hen. While admiring her head and body, it is important to look at the width of her tail!
What I want to see is a very narrow "piped" tail but instead it is wide! When birds are frighten they sometimes widen their tail but this young lady hops around merrily with her tail all fanned out all the time!
A relaxed bird that displays a wide tail is either out of condition or especially in Borders may have inherited short longevity genes... Some Border lines have been given high doses of vitamins and over the years, they have adapted and require a similar high amount of vitamins. Perhaps this is because of the epigenes that control the genes. If high vitamin needs are not met, the bird will display a wide tail and if the high vitamin needs are not met over a period of time, they will have a short lifespan. It can also be due to poor intestinal absorption which runs in some varieties.
Her roommate in the same cage has a piped narrow tail.. Even when birds are fed identically they can pick and chose and not eat a well balanced diet. Never the less, I will put a little more nutrition to them. Twice a day I will offer the ABBA green 92 with Breedmax (1 tablespoon to 4 cups ABBA green) and they will also get a dish of bee pollen each day.
This two year old hen loves to sun herself. Note that beautiful piped tail!!
This Border male has lost his beautiful confirmation as he is in breeding condition. Note his piped tail.
View of the above breeding male from the top.
Critical Concept: Keep an eye on the tail width. If your birds are getting their nutritional needs met, they will display a narrow piped tail! Should a bird's tail be wide when it is relaxed, kick the vitamins up a notch.