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A chick not growing at same rate as brooder-mates of same breed.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Has anyone had a chicken that just doesn't grow at the same rate as the other chickens?

 

We bought 6 black sex links at TSC on April 30.  They appeared to be anywhere from 5-10 days old...Most had a few started feathers on the wings but nothing else.

 

Of the 6, one appears to not be a black sex link.  it appears to be a barred rock.  We debated if it was a roo because of the barring, but the appearance and character of the chicken is making us think that it is just a barred rock hen.

 

One other of the six is much smaller then the others.  We had those chicks along with a few who were a week or two older.  All the other chickens are growing much larger then this chicken.  She never extends her neck that I have seen and tends to hide under the other chickens like a young chick would.  She also isn't trying to fly and by keeping her body so close to the ground it's hard to get a good picture of her.  I am growing concerned that she is so much smaller then our other chickens.  We have about 4 potential roos out of 11 chickens and I don't want her getting hurt.  There is plenty of food and water so she down't have to fight for it.

 

Is it possible that she is also a different / smaller breed?

Do chickens of the same breed, sex and age vary a lot in size?

 

Here are some chick pics though it may be hard to understand the size difference.

 

Our 'regular BSL chicks'

 

 

 

 

Our assumed barred rock

 

our 'little' chick

post #2 of 4

Your chicks look closer to four weeks old from the amount of feathering shown in the pics. Are you sure your small chick isn't a bantam?

 

There is another reason for a chick being much smaller than its mates. It could have genetic abnormalities that cause it to develop much more slowly or not at all. Eventually the chick may become sick due to a compromised immune system and poor nutrition caused by an inability to assimilate nutrients.

 

If your chick is active and running around like the others, it's probably fine and is just a small breed. If the chick is acting lethargic, it may be sick and failing to thrive.

 

It also would be a good idea to provide extra heat for this chick. I suggest a heating pad cave with some rolled up socks inside for comfort.

post #3 of 4
It’s hard to know what is going on with that chick. It’s possible it is a bantam, accidentally mixed in with the others. I have had a few runts, chicks that just don’t grow as well as they should. The size difference with runts can be quite dramatic.

I mostly grow mine for meat so I butcher the runts. Usually there is something wrong with them internally. I’ve only had three, all males interestingly though I’m sure a runt pullet is very possible. Two of them were from hatchery chicks, one I hatched from my eggs from perfectly normal chickens. Some of the internal organs were just not the right size proportionally. The male sex organs were tiny compared to what they should have been and the gizzard and liver were out of proportion to their size and other internals. One had a badly diseases liver. The one with the diseased liver was so far behind in development I thought it was a pullet until it was about 16 weeks old, them its tail feathers curled and gave it away. It was noticeably smaller than the pullets. All these runts acted pretty normal.

It is very normal for chicks of the same breed to develop at different rates and to be different sizes as they are growing and after they mature. But that size difference indicates to me that it is either a different breed (probably a bantam) or it is a runt. It may make a perfectly fine chicken, it may not. I can’t tell.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info.  I will just have to wait and see I guess.  

 

I am obviously guessing at age since we didn't hatch them. The black ones (along with all the other chicks) were bought 4 weeks ago today so they are at least that old (the other chicks are obviously a few weeks older).  Here are a few of their "baby pictures" from the first day we had them.  The little bit of new feathering on the wings made me think that the black ones were older then a day when we purchased them.

 

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