Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ask Big Bird - Molting During Breeding Season

A Border and Fife Breeder in the Southern Hemisphere writes: 

Hello Linda - What a bad breeding season. The hens are dropping are dropping flight feathers but not the cocks. This is also happening to the few hens that are feeding. The few hens that have weaned chicks are just sitting on the perch and not interested in the cock. I have 16 hens in the flight cage because I cannot get them into breeding condition, they also are dropping feathers. My fife canaries have the same problem- to date no fife chicks. Please help.

Big Bird reply:

It is so frustrating when things do not work out as planned. The more motivated we are the higher our frustration level so I have been there too,  many times..

Molting and breeding condition are opposites. The cock were likely conditioned better early on and the hens never really were. Seeing long flight feathers signals a full molt. The usual reason is a drop in the number of total daylight hours. Do not drop the total daylight hours but do raise them to 15 hours if they are not on that long of day.

Immediately, push multiple vitamin B in the water. This is the product I use (it is also good to encourage birds to stop molting quickly during the normal molt) but you  could just buy multiple B complex tablets and dissolve in water. How much do you use, just make the water a dark canary yellow color or brownish amber depending on the product. These are water soluble vitamins and not fat stored so you can not overdose. Because there is a problem with them wanting to molt, keep the birds on this till you are finished breeding. It does work fast. Just overnight and the number of feathers should be way down.

My original experiments with this product were done on cockatiels and they love to molt several times a year. I was able to control their molting and limit it to once a year instead of twice or more. I also have done this on a border hen. She had raised chicks and I fostered her eggs and she started dropping long feathers. Unfortunately, the foster mother and all the potential mothers would not feed her three chicks. So I put her on the liquid B and gave her the struggling chicks and she fed them and they grew normally.

After stopping the molt, you need to get the hens in breeding condition. I would give them Orlux Omi-vit daily or a similar multiple vitamin (containing vitamin E especially) with lysine and methionine and wheat germ oil coated the seeds as I posted recently. Feed all birds the wheat germ oil coated seeds and all cocks and the hens you are conditioning for breeding the daily vitamins. Do not feed the daily vitamin to the hens once they lay their first egg or during setting until they are ready for another nest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is this more common in type birds?