Rooster chang­ing colour

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

QI have a seven-year-old rooster that I hatched out. I’ve no­ticed that he has been chang­ing colour grad­u­ally over the years, but he has just been through a moult and the amount of white is con­sid­er­ably more no­tice­able now.

None of my other chick­ens have changed colour. He has the same diet as every­one else and seems to be in very good health.

Why has he changed colour?

AJulie Moore says: Fac­tors that af­fect the changes in feather colour can in­clude: the diet of the bird, its age, sex, sea­sonal changes caused by moult­ing or the ab­sence or over-abun­dance of one or more pig­ments.

I don’t be­lieve that this is a di­etary is­sue given that your rooster has the same diet as the rest of your flock.

How­ever, it’s not un­com­mon for darker coloured chick­ens to turn white. As the bird gets older, it does not pro­duce the pig­ment melanin at a ‘nor­mal’ level or in a nor­mal pat­tern. The re­sult­ing colour pat­terns are re­ferred to as be­ing: al­bino (pure white and com­pletely miss­ing the melanin pig­ment), leucis­tic (patches of pure white) or with di­lute / faded plumage.

When birds pro­duce too much melanin, they are re­ferred to as melanis­tic.

... but now he looks like this.

When he was young, he looked like this

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