Missing pieces

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Missing pieces

Postby Foehn » Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:49 pm

Had my first hatch of the season 8 days ago and have a black and white chick in that hatch. I noticed today that it was growing white wing feathers on its left side only so picked up for a closer look. Seems it has no right wing at all (must be a labour supporter :D ) Anyway, what could cause this sort of deformity. There is no evidence of even a wing stump.
I also had a fat healthy looking Araucana hatch in same batch with a very bad wry neck. (PTS) Mineral deficiency?
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Re: Missing pieces

Postby wolga » Sat Sep 17, 2016 9:32 pm

Hi Foehn,
Chick embryo malformations are mostly caused by incorrect feeding of the breeder flock, resulting in poor quality hatching eggs, or incorrect incubator settings. The most common malformations seen in chicks are:
Beak abnormalities, such as crossed beak, parrot beak, or short upper beak, which can be a result of genetic traits, poor hen nutrition, exposure to pesticides, hatching eggs exposed to near freezing temperatures.
Small or missing eye(s), which is normally a result of high temperature during incubation, especially during the early stages.
Exposed brain, which is normally a result of high temperature or prolonged heat spikes during the early stages of incubation.
Intestines outside of abdomen, which can be a result of high temperature during mid-incubation, or hatching eggs exposed to near freezing temperatures.
Crooked (wry) neck, which can be either an inherited genetic trait, or a result of poor breeder nutrition
Crooked toes, foot and leg problems, which can be a result of excessive in-breeding, poor breeder nutrition, or an inherited genetic trait.
Congenital malformation( missing or abnormal body parts ) in chicks can be caused by a selenium deficiency.
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Re: Missing pieces

Postby Marina » Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:01 pm

That's a very exhaustive list, Wolga :D

I've never had a chick hatch with missing body parts, Foehn, so that's probably very rare. But I've had chicks with wry neck. In some cases people have given high doses of a vitamin and mineral supplement like Ornithon to the affected chick and some chicks have come right.

If the breeding birds only have the layer pellets they don't get everything they need to produce an egg from which a healthy chick can hatch. These pellets contain just enough nutrition to keep layers healthy and laying. There are quite a few reasonably priced supplements for pigeons which can be bought from feed stores and I give those to my breeding birds which helps prevent many of the malformations. Also since most feed manufacturers have replaced meat and bone meal with soy the chicks I've hatched have had a lot more problems than before when meat and bone meal was a main ingredient.

Weston Milling still uses a proportion of meat and bone meal to manufacture their layer pellets and I find that they are very good, especially if the chooks get some greens as well. You might have to experiment a bit. Also brewers yeast can help - it provides the B vitamins.

There is FeedMe Milling in Otaki and they produce very good breeder pellets.
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Re: Missing pieces

Postby Foehn » Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:14 pm

Yes some of the chicks from several years ago had problems with slipped hocks and one with curled toes, and I did some research which pointed at manganese, so I got some chook tonic which had that in it. Also did a soil test and manganese showed up as deficient. The tonic has kept further problems at bay, but this missing wing is a whole different thing. Selenium wouldn't surprise me as it's deficient throughout NZ. It's a very cute chick and from a mother who produced a blue chick with a yellow head last year, so I was keen to see what she produced this year.
I do have some cage bird vitamins. Will have a look to see if it has selenium in it.
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Re: Missing pieces

Postby Kracka » Mon Oct 03, 2016 4:29 pm

I had a Pekin bantam cockerel like this - I hadn't picked it up as a little chick, then they get all fluffy and didn't notice it until I sorted through them & thought, don't need 4 cockerels of the same colour, so who should I keep. To discover one was completely missing its wing!
It obviously hadn't hindered it in any way - but there was no way I was going to breed from it to see if it would pass it on
I've hatched probably 100's of bantams and only ever had one
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Re: Missing pieces

Postby Foehn » Sun Oct 23, 2016 11:20 am

My wingless chick died overnight. No idea why, it was running around in the sun yesterday, was well feathered and quite a little chatterbox. Only conclusion I can settle on, is that whatever affected its physical appearance might also have affected its heart. Now its little mate a red wyandotte cockerel is quite lonely
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Re: Missing pieces

Postby Marina » Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:26 pm

What a shame :(
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Re: Missing pieces

Postby Foehn » Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:37 pm

Been a horrible season for hatching good chicks. I set eggs under broodies recently and they all ended up fighting for possession of the nest boxes, stealing one an others eggs and layers trying to take over too, so, lots of broken eggs. Unfortunately I have limited places to put broodies, and of course they all decided to sit at the same time.
Two grumpy hens sitting in a major nest box at present and one of them has taken a huge grudge out on me, so my arms are bitten and scratched badly. I'd like to sit her in some cold water to settle her, but she's so fierce, i won't even attempt to put her in the broodie box.

Back to the problems of chicks, i am now getting some problems with wry neck. had to odd one hatch with it, but these chicks are 10-12 weeks old. Usual thing is fine one day, and completely disabled the next. Latest one was overnight. Neck completely stuffed but it was fine when I put it to bed last night. Seems to be one particular group, but don't know whether to blame rooster or hens. All of them are within the Araucana group.
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Re: Missing pieces

Postby Marina » Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:32 pm

Possibly the vitamin and mineral mixture has been 'forgotten' in the feed you are feeding. Can you get a supplement quickly and give it to them in a mega dose to start with? There are a few on the market, have a look at www.poultrynz.com. He's got a poultry tonic. Most feed suppliers have supplements for pigeons - they're good for chicks, too. Brewer's yeast will help, too.

I do get crooked toes in 5 week old chicks but that no longer happens as I give them vitamins and minerals when they are very young. Now they get the crooked toes at 3 months old!!! Which means I can't stop supplementing.
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Re: Missing pieces

Postby Foehn » Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:02 pm

Vitamins and minerals in the feed i'm currently using, but no problems with the wyandottes or the barnevelders, only the Araucanas, both pure and crossbred. The feed does have brewers yeast in it, I can smell it in a new bag. Selenium may be the other possibility, but then all hens get the same
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Re: Missing pieces

Postby Kracka » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:01 pm

I've had our Silkies start trying to look at you from upside down (rolling their head/neck round)
and it was only the Silkies (and not all of them) - fed them an added vitamin/mineral & they straightened up
my conclusion was the Silkies are a bit sensitive/soft
all the birds were eating the same feed and they were the only ones to do it
I would certainly try some sort of tonic
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Re: Missing pieces

Postby Marina » Wed Feb 01, 2017 8:54 am

I, too, had such problems in just one or two lines. My Faverolles are particularly susceptible to the lack of certain minerals and vitamins and greatly benefit from adding a supplement.

I also once bought eggs from 4 different breeds off the same breeder who only ever uses broodies. 3 breeds hatched fine and healthy in my incubator. The 4th breed hatched as stargazers - all of them. He said they all hatch fine at his place - under broodies - so the not-quite-ideal conditions in my incubator made this problem noticeable.
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