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Why are my chickens not growing???

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I have some breed of chicken. Don't know what it is. Supposedly they are the male "leftovers" of a company that was hatching for some type layer chicks. They gave us the males I guess.

 

Anyway... In the beginning, we listened to bad advice and underfed them. In fact, they were not growing that much then. It wasn't until I was researching some bad behaviors they were doing that I realized that they were underfed, so about a 4 or 5 weeks ago or so we significantly increased the amount of feed. For a while, they really grew a lot. Now they seem to be stuck at their same size for 2 - 2.5 weeks or more. They are 3.5 months old.

 

Do chickens plateau like this in size? Could underfeeding them previously have affected their growth rate and caused them to stop growing?

 

post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by cammartinez View Post
 

I have some breed of chicken. Don't know what it is. Supposedly they are the male "leftovers" of a company that was hatching for some type layer chicks. They gave us the males I guess.

 

Anyway... In the beginning, we listened to bad advice and underfed them. In fact, they were not growing that much then. It wasn't until I was researching some bad behaviors they were doing that I realized that they were underfed, so about a 4 or 5 weeks ago or so we significantly increased the amount of feed. For a while, they really grew a lot. Now they seem to be stuck at their same size for 2 - 2.5 weeks or more. They are 3.5 months old.

 

Do chickens plateau like this in size? Could underfeeding them previously have affected their growth rate and caused them to stop growing?

 

 

Yes. Being underfed at an early age can stunt growth. It's unfortunate that people gave this type of advice even though they probably meant well.  At 3 1/2 months they may grow yet depending on the breed.  Good luck.


Edited by nchls school - 11/19/15 at 5:39am
post #3 of 5

Yes, they do plateau out in size as the go through a mini molt to get adult plumage around that age. Typically this is the time I do a lot of culling in breeder flock. The reason being is chicken is best for grilling if the bird is younger than 14 weeks. Can still fry at 16 weeks and maybe even 18 but I don't do fried chicken so don't really know. So not only am I culling at an age they are best to grill but also at the height of their feed to meat conversion. Once the start to convert nutrition to feathers the body slows dramatically in growth so to me that's just wasted feed as I'm going to pluck all those feathers anyway. Not to mention if around 14 weeks the saddle feathers that are hard to pluck aren't in yet on the cockerels.

 

If your well into this stage of growth it may behoove you to wait until 20-24 weeks of age for culling. They will soon start to put on body mass again. They get to adult size around this later time though will continue to grow for another 8 months but at a very slow rate. Cockerels gain another 1.5-2 lbs in live weight when full grown cocks. Clearly not worth waiting for and the meat will be borderline suited for roasting. If soaked in brine for 24 hours I don't mind year old birds but they are much more suited for roasting at the 20-24 week mark. I still brine them and cook at 325F for close to 30 minutes a pound. Keep breast side down for 40 minutes to aid in retaining juices then turn over and baste with butter in attempt to brown skin. It's hard to keep the bird moist and brown skin but the salt brine aids in water retention.

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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post #4 of 5

I don't see a lot of feathers on the ground in photo. 3.5 months is about 15 weeks and this could be your time to cull a bunch of them. I'm guessing you had a lot of feather loss a few weeks ago and this is the new plumage coming in. I think your right at the mark to make a choice, cull half for grilling and let the other half grow out to roasters. Then you'll have a good comparison and weights for informed decisions in future years. My cue to start culling is once I start to see feathers in the run and coop, they will not grow for some time once this starts to happen. You've fed a few weeks longer then any gain but still young enough to try some grilled. Know the would be even more tender if taken a few weeks earlier and practically same weight.


Edited by Egghead_Jr - 11/19/15 at 5:52am

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Wow... thanks for the posts. I was told that this breed was supposedly to be ready to eat in 5 to 6 months. That matches the 20 to 24 weeks info.

 

I just noticed they had not been growing and became concerned.

 

The feed costs are terrible so I can't imagine feeding these little duds for another 1.5 to 2.5 months. They are at an kind of ok size. Not the best but sellable to cut my losses.

 

They have another breed of chicken that is the most common type of chicken that is ready in 45 to 60 days. They call them "big leg" chickens here so I don't know what the common American term would be.

 

Next time we will get "big legs" chicken. 5 to 6 months just won't work for us financially right now. 

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