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 Post subject: Small wattle and combs
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:59 pm 
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Showy Hen
Showy Hen

Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:17 pm
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Location: Wollongong NSW
There is a chook at my son's primary school who looks a bit scruffy and has very small wattle and combs although they're very healthy colour bright red. Anyway their size tells me she isn't laying at the very least. She is otherwise alert, upright, active (scratching, eating and drinking, following the flock around) and has shiny feathers although looks like she is in a constant moult. She's also not as 'confident' as the others maybe because she is clearly the bottom of the pecking order. I'm concerned that them being locked in the enclosure constantly for a few months earlier in the year she got bullied too much by unhappy hens but I'm only speculating. I can't catch her so I know she's not too sick. I've suggested we change their diet to a better quality grain to start with. What are the possibilities here?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:44 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:15 pm
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Location: ACT area
She may just be a runt and once at the bottom of the pecking order she will stay there. Scruffiness and feather loss can be an indication of poor nutrition - specifically protein (often a problem with a grain based diet). Is she being feather picked by the others?
The size of her wattles and comb may be typical of her breed - or are they all the same?

I have a friend who has developed some school based animal husbandry modules (including poultry). Are you interested in a contact?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:53 am 
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Showy Hen
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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:17 pm
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Location: Wollongong NSW
That would be great Sue! As I have spent a fair bit of time lately educating the various people at school about improving their care as well as giving them some free-range time. We've also changed their grain feed and I've stressed they need to crack down on children feeding them constant fruit waste as they just don't eat it. I said I'd go up some educational posters and into to put on the chook pen as well. The other 4 chooks are healthy so this one seems to just be the one struggling and I know she has always been the bottom and does get picked on. So we try to give them more space so she gets some stress-free time too. I've been giving them a bit of mince meat some days too.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:50 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Location: ACT area
She is OS atm but I''l follow up when she returns in Sept.

re the fruit waste - have a look into Bokashi. Unlike compost it doesn't matter if there is food waste other than fruit and veg. Some councils supply domestic size units and will help out with the commercial ones for groups.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:57 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:17 pm
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Location: Wollongong NSW
Thanks Sue, sounds great. The school garden club have a compost but I'm not sure what system it is or even if it's used much. Will look at it all.

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