My plans are to breed in March but my Irish Fancy hens hint that they have other plans as they are developing brood patches. A brood patch is featherless skin that is well supplied with blood vessels at the surface to transfer heat to their incubating eggs. To develop a brood patch the hen will loose some feathers in the area.
The brood patch is a strong message that love is in the air and nesting is coming much sooner than I planned!
|Note the new feather indentation in the lower abdomen that makes a line clear to the vent.|
This one's line looks more full in the lower abdomen along the line especially as you approach the vent area and sure enough she was even setting in the seed cup. (Same hen as directly above this picture.)
Whenever birds change aviaries at this time of year, the change in diet, temperature, and humidity can be stimulating even when we keep the same total number of day light hours and birds from our aviary are several weeks or a couple of months away from breeding.
Linda, I've had the same thing happen when I brought birds back from the National show. I wanted to get them to settle in before starting the conditioning diet. I'm not sure I make the right decision about letting "mother nature" rule the aviary. I've had mixed results, 2 hens with clear eggs,1 feeding and 1 ready to hatch this weekend. Do you let the hens proceed with their instincts or try to hold them back.
Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
Tomorrow Part 2 What choices do I have!
I'll look forward to reading the options. E
For hens that start laying prematurely, I let them sit on infertile eggs as long as they will to help slow them down a bit. Usually, they will sit at least a couple or weeks or more.
Thank YOU Linda, Great tips as usual. I'm letting the hens sit on the infertile eggs as you suggested. I'll let the breeding season start here in Wi. I believe the stable warmer weather we have had in WI has also influenced the birds.
I have a new hen that I purchased 3 weeks ago. She is active, eating well, bathing daily, but has started losing feathers. I thought she might be developing a brood paych. But see no sign of it. Could this be a soft molt. And if so, what can I do to stop it?
Hopefully you know what the hen was use to for total daylight hours as any drop will likely precipitate a molt. Finding long feathers signals a full molt.
Soft molt is small feathers. To stop it put multiple vitamin B in the water and make it canary yellow. I like the liquid World Organic Brand. In addition, drop all protein and feed high carb including oatmeal and bread.
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