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#60122 - 02/28/05 08:17 PM sudden feather picking in yearling geese
Anonymous
Unregistered


anyone have any idea why a trio of 10 month old shetland geese would suddenly start feather picking?

one of the geese laid an egg about 10 days ago, the other is showing nesting behavior. unfortunately, we weren't expecting them to lay this year and didn't put them on breeder feed until this week because it had to be special ordered.

they were on a 20% protein pellet mixed 1:1 with race horse oats with access to grass, although the grass may have been not up to what they're used to because the weather's been so dry.

we wormed them in november and december with piperazine first, then ivomec.

they're penned in a 5x5 hardwarecloth cage at night and turned out into a 20x30 grassy run with a kiddie pool during the day.

i suspect the goose that laid the egg was the first to start the picking but now she, too, has damaged feathers.

thanking you folks in advance for your suggestions and advice.

pam

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#60123 - 03/01/05 12:32 PM Re: sudden feather picking in yearling geese
Rob2 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 03/28/03
Posts: 3068
Loc: Pennsylvania
I have never seen a problem withj geese feather picking? Are you sure the damage is not from breeding?

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#60124 - 03/01/05 02:33 PM Re: sudden feather picking in yearling geese
Duck Boy Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 278
Loc: Canada
Are you sure they are a trio and not 2 ganders and 1 goose. If there are 2 ganders they could be pulling each others feathers out when they fight. If they are a trio its probably like rob said, from breeding.
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#60125 - 03/01/05 05:47 PM Re: sudden feather picking in yearling geese
Anonymous
Unregistered


thank you both for your help. shetlands are auto sexing with ganders being all white and geese having gray heads and backs so we're pretty sure we've got a trio. feathersite has pics http://feathersite.com/Poultry/Geese/BRKShetland.html

guess feather eating might be a better description of what they're doing. they're not pulling the feathers out but nibbling them until they're half gone.

so far, it's mostly just above the legs and the feathers that cover their backs. this seems different than the loss of small feathers from their necks that is happening during what looks like courting behavior to us. we've not seen actual breeding yet.

we've had a small backyard flock of chickens for 16 years but these are the first geese. that's why this board is such a great resource - folks willing to share their experience with newbies :-) reading about geese here kind of convinced us to give them a try.

if it's something that needs attention, we want to take care of it before it becomes an ongoing problem. even though they aren't in the standard yet, we were hoping to show them.

thanks again for your input.

pam

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#60126 - 03/01/05 06:15 PM Re: sudden feather picking in yearling geese
Rob2 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 03/28/03
Posts: 3068
Loc: Pennsylvania
I had a Pilgrim male hatch out and stay gray, he was a bit more even and a softer gray than the hens. Pilgrims are autosexing too so this surprised me a bit. When this male was bred to a buff female , a buff male resulted, that is not supposed to happen either! so my point is, rules are rules- until they are broken!.
Shetlands are inbred, due to their low numbers. Only the most vigorous should be retained as breeders, the rest should be destroyed. Now, I am not saying this as a fact but a possibility; your geese could be of a nervous type or there could be some other affection due to inbreeding???which could cause them to act with odd behaviours?? Are you seeing them actually picking one another or just noticing the feathers are broken ??

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#60127 - 03/01/05 08:39 PM Re: sudden feather picking in yearling geese
Anonymous
Unregistered


i do think this is a trio but you're right about surprises :-) the reason i'm leaning towards trio is that there is a clear difference in behavior between the white and gray/wht. we've seen only the two gray/wht ones sit on the nests. the white one has a higher pitched voiced, etc.

as goslings, the feather nibbling was a problem until they went outside. and, yes, we see them do the damage with their bills. other than that and a little more noise than we were hoping for, they have been a delight. even the neighbor who kept them for us during the hurricanes has fallen in love with them. who knew geese were so personable and affectionate?

i hear what you're saying about breeding. while there's no way we could destroy one of these guys, we certainly would ask for guidance before even thinking about setting eggs. but that's a problem for another year.

if this episode of feather picking has been caused by letting them go into breeding season without enough proper feed, do you think offering them free choice breeder rations now will correct it? anything else we can do?

if you think it's probably an inbreeding issue, guess we'll have to make some hard decisions.

we do appreciate your thoughts.

pam

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#60128 - 03/02/05 04:32 PM Re: sudden feather picking in yearling geese
Rob2 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 03/28/03
Posts: 3068
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thats what they are, just thinking outloud, so to say!
I have had geese for years, off and on but have developed a real and serious interest in waterfowl recently. I now wish I had kept that gray male Pilgrim gander, his color was different and he was much larger thatn all of the others? I do have his buff son here who should not be buff by the genetics norms. I have given thought to an auto sexing buff??

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#60129 - 03/02/05 05:26 PM Re: sudden feather picking in yearling geese
Anonymous
Unregistered


wouldn't that be cool! when you said the pilgrim/buff mating shouldn't have produced a buff male, what would have been expected?

autosexing is a handy feature, would you breed that buff male to a buff or a pilgrim? how long would it take to get there?

p

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