Are they eating enough? Look great, but feel thin to me

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by trinacliff, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. trinacliff

    trinacliff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 12, 2009
    Ocala, FL
    I have only had my two 10 month old buff Brahma bantam pullets and one 10 month old cockerel about 2 weeks, and I feel I am not doing something right. Since I'm still learning, I know I'm not doing everything right, but I swear I already feel like my pullets are more thin than when I got them. It could be my head or me not noticing the way they felt so much when I first got them. What should their chests feel like when you pick them up? I feel that boney area under their feathers and it bothers me. I have read all about the worming, which I'm doing, even though I just got them. I am feeding Layena, which I guess is not optimal for my 10 month old cockerel...what is the best thing to feed when the pullets and cockerel are together? They don't seem to love the pellets...they more pick at them, and don't eat much in one day. What is a typical amount they should eat in one day? They act fine, scratching around eating and drinking, but I just think something is off. What is a good way to fatten them up and add some bulk? These are for my kids 4H projects, but I have taken to them (of course) so they are more than that already. [​IMG] Oh, also, one pullet laid an egg 2 days ago.

    Thanks for any help or information! If there are a few good threads already on this, feel free to point me in the right direction. I searched and searched, but I can't seem to figure out the best words to use to search for this stuff. LOL

    Kristen
     
  2. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    If you keep food available all the time they will eat what they need. Dual purpose and laying birds do not put on the meat as fast as the meat crosses (Cornish cross) nor do they put on as much meat. My dual purpose birds always felt scrawny compared to my meat birds. I don't think there is a problem unless they are obviously sick.

    As far as fattening up for a 4H project maybe someone with experience in that area will jump on and give some tips.
     
  3. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Hi Kristen:
    Being 10 month old bantam I wouldn't think that you should be able to feel the breast bone..
    I am not sure what the amount of protein amount in the Layena is. I think at one time I herd it was about 16%.. Is that right?
    You said that they are just picking at there feed that tells me that they either don't like it or you could be feeding to much treats...
    If you are feeding treats I would cut them out for awhile ( cut the scratch out too ) then you can see if they start eating feed better and filling out...
    I keep my Bantam and Large Fowl on a higher protein ( 22% ) I feel I get a better bird with real good feathering and quick moult. Feeding A higher protein feed also allows for some play in the protein if you add treats/ scratch.

    Chris
     
  4. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Like Chris said--you may want to try a slightly higher protein content if you feed a lot of treats. If they don't like the feed, they won't eat as much. I had this problem with one brand of feed I gave my hens--they just weren't eating as much of the feed, so I switched feed again. They often don't like the pellets, so you might try crumbles instead. If you are concerned about the cockerel getting too much calcium, switch to a flock raiser (all-around) type feed and make sure they have oyster shell available. Greens and nutritional treats such as sunflower seeds are fine, just not too much. Keeps them busy and happy.
     
  5. trinacliff

    trinacliff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks you guys....can you throw some brand names of good types of feed that have higher protein that would also be ok for my cockerel? When I first got the pellets, they went crazy for them...but they could have just been really hungry from their trip...now they just kind of pick.

    I don't feed too many treats just yet...only enough to get them to come over some and get them more used to me.

    Thanks again!

    Kristen
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    You should be able to feel the keel bone on their chests. That's normal for single breasted birds, especially young ones. They are building up their bone structure before adding any "meat", not that they add much meat.
     
  7. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could be that any foods that are high in Vit B 12 would help too. That is known to be a safe way to increase appetite as well as raise red blood cell count.
     
  8. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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  9. ThePamperedPullet

    ThePamperedPullet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Most birds won't really start filling out until they are about a year old. Ours all went through that gangly stage and since their first molt have really started to fill out.
     

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