Postnatal Feather Cycle of Hungarian Upgraded Goose Goslings
Major phases of postnatal feather cycle of Hungarian Upgraded Goose goslings until 11 weeks of age are presented with corresponding photos.
The feathers are the peculiar outer covering of birds. Formation of all follicles and the initial feathers occur during embryo development, and then feathers are continuously shed and regenerated throughout the life of domestic fowl. Here, major phases of the postnatal feather cycle observed in Hungarian Upgraded Goose goslings until 11 weeks of age are presented with corresponding photos.
Materials and Method
Weekly feather samples were collected from 20 of 250 goslings reared at the Goose Breeding Research Station (Gödöllő University) beginning from 3-4 weeks of age. On sampling occasions, 5-5 feather samples were taken from 4 body parts (breast, belly, flank, and back) of each bird.
Feathers representing best the average sample were selected and photographed on a squared paper to indicate feather length.
Following is a description of the first, postnatal feather cycle of Hungarian Upgraded Goose goslings with corresponding photos (Fig. 1).
The postnatal feather cycle of goose (similar to domestic fowls) is marked by phases of moult, growth, maturation, and initiation of a new cycle.
The first, postnatal moult occurs in goslings between 3-5 weeks of age, beginning on the lower belly and breast and terminating on the mid-part of the back. During this phase, the natal down is pushed out by the tips of the new feathers and the down drops off.
The juvenile feathers grow intensively between 4-8 weeks of age and, then to a lesser extent in the 9th week. The length of the growth phase differs among the different body parts. It comes to an end when the nutritive blood vessels of the growing feathers dry up.
Subsequently, the feathers enter a resting phase during which they undergo maturation, but do not elongate. Ultimately feathers become fully keratinized to their base in all body parts throughout weeks 10-11, beginning on the belly and terminating on the back.
Some days after feathers attained their maturity, a new moult is initiated.
The major phases of postnatal feather cycle of Hungarian Upgraded Goose goslings presented here with corresponding photos may aid to identify the time of maturation of feathers by body part.
Fig. 1: Photographic depiction of postnatal feather phases in Hungarian Upgraded Goose goslings
Legends for photos:
Photo 1: Natal downs sampled from four body parts of goslings between 1-3 weeks of age.
Photo 2: The first moult begins on the belly: the natal down is pushed out by the tips of the new feathers.
Photo 3: The natal downs are carried out on the tips of the incoming juvenile feathers in the first moult, but soon abraded.
Photo 4: Latest, the mid part of the back undergoes moult at 5 week of age.
Photo 5: The new cover feathers arrive in intense growth phase.
Photo 6: The feathers in all four body parts grow at a highest rate at this age.
Photo 7: The juvenile feathers are still in phase of intense growth.
Photo 8: By this time, the belly feathers are already mature, and feathers in other body parts elongate also little.
Photo 9: The feathers covering the back are still immature.
Photo 10: The new follicles are already formed under the old ones.
Photo 11: By this time feathers in all four body parts attain full maturity.
PUBLICATION DATE: 09/02/2010
AUTHOR: Kozák, J., Monostori, K1., Ács, I. and Pécsi, A