CAG with red feathers in places other than his tail
by Margo Repp
1 yr ago I adopted Archie, a 19 yr old CAG. During this time, he's twice seen our Vet for grooming, weigh ins, and physical examination. (no blood work) During this past year, I've converted him to Sweet and Sassy Hot and Hearty, Harrisons, fresh fruits and veggies, an organic green pellet, occasional scrambled egg, and almonds as a hand treat.
Archie arrived at our home with an odd sprinkling of red feathers on his belly, legs, neck, and shoulder areas. I thought it might be a sign of poor quality feather production or inadequate nutrition. Now that I've seen him through molting, I find that the red doesn't go away. If anything, it's increasing. These new "red" feathers are of a fine quality and very colorful.
All in all, he's a happy, good natured, outgoing, and very talkative CAG. My one concern has to do with these odd colored feathers. Thanks to the internet, I've learned about "red factor." Is this genetic? Something to be concerned about? Just how "red" do some CAGs become? Can you refer me to some literature to read about the subject?
I should also add that Archie does pluck a small area on his neck and both legs and some of his new feathers take longer than a month to unwrap. To discourage the plucking, we have provided him with lots of toys. In particular, he loves tearing up phone books! We hope in time he will be too busy to pluck. If he'll let me, I help unwrap new feathers, but often he resists help.
Can you address red factor, provide me with a rough estimate of how long it should take a healthy feather to unwrap, and add any other thoughts you have for Archie?