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Are my chickens too thin?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Peavy, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. Peavy

    Peavy In the Brooder

    Mar 29, 2007
    Reno, NV
    Hi Everybody!

    I live in Reno where the nights get down to the teens often and sometimes down to higher single digits. My 4 Delawares have a rubbermaid shed with a roost in it, plenty of bedding and I stuff the door opening with straw on the cold nights to keep it warmer. I feed them layer pellets, occasional scraps and a nightly treat of safflower seeds, millet, flax mixed with a little scratch.
    When I pick them up I can plainly feel their keel (?) bones but I am not sure if this is how they are supposed to feel? They are eating A LOT more pellets than they did this summer and I am just confused as to how to determine whether they are too thin. They look gorgeous otherwise, shiny and full feathered.
    Please help if you can tell me how to gauge their weight and whether I should be feeding a different type of pelleted food?

    Thanks, guys!!!!

  2. Pinenot

    Pinenot Songster

    Sep 11, 2007
    Some of my bantums feel that way and they get as much as they want to eat. I just think it depends on the breed too.
  3. picklespickles

    picklespickles Songster

    Oct 27, 2007
    if they look healthy, i wouldn't worry. i have some that stay fat and some that stay skinny. just different.
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Yep, you should be able to feel the keel on the birds as most are not broad breasted. Now if they were Cornish x meat birds, that would be a different story. As long as they eat free choice, they should be fine. Don't want them to be "fat" per se because that is not healthy for them, especially when it comes to laying eggs well.
  5. joanm

    joanm Songster

    May 13, 2007
    Thanks for posting that question! My buff orp, Big Mama feels painfully thin when I pick her up too, but I know she's healthy - at least she looks it.
  6. Peavy

    Peavy In the Brooder

    Mar 29, 2007
    Reno, NV
    Does anyone switch to higher protein feeds in the winter, like using gamebird feed? It just seems so cold to me at night, I am just a worried mom.
  7. peepkeeper

    peepkeeper Songster

    Jul 5, 2007
    upstate New York
    They're eating more because they're burning up more calories in the winter keeping warm. I wouldn't give them gamebird feed. Just be sure that they have a steady supply of feed which you might want to supplement with scratch (corn keeps them warm and gives yolks a nice yellow color) and maybe warm oatmeal for variety and your own amusement. They sound like they're fine.

  8. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Some cracked corn or scratch feed about an hour before they roost will help to keep them warm.
  9. Peavy

    Peavy In the Brooder

    Mar 29, 2007
    Reno, NV
    Once again y'all are a GREAT help for newbies like me! I'll get them some scratch and I'll try the oatmeal, too. Thanks again!

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