Baby chick not growing

tballard

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 3, 2014
11
16
89
Middle Tennessee


All the chicks in this picture are 7 weeks old and were obtained as day-old chicks via mail order. They are Delawares (white) and Buff Orpingtons (tan). The little Delaware chick has essentially not grown in size and she is still the same size she was as a week-old chick, although she does have wing feathers and some tail feathers. She still has down on her head and most of her underside. She appears to be healthy and eats/drinks normally. She seems to get around OK, but she is less than a quarter the size of the other chicks at this point. From what I can tell, the other chicks do not seem to pick on her.

I've never seen anything like this and was wondering what thoughts others may have on this. At this point, I can't really see her having a sudden growth burst, so I am not quite sure what to do with her.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
22,792
36,952
1,096
southern Michigan
Welcome! I would leave her in the group, as long as things continue as they are. She may be a bantam, not planned, but it's fine if the hatchery sent a wrong chick. Did they send a 'mystery chick'? if she's failing to grow, there's nothing really to be done about it. Call the hatchery to report the problem, see what they say about it. You might get a refund for the Delaware she isn't. Mary
 

tballard

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 3, 2014
11
16
89
Middle Tennessee
No, not a mystery chick. I always order specific breeds for specific purposes. I'm pretty sure it is a Delaware by its coloring and other characteristics. I did consider that it might be a bantam, but I would think even as bantam it would have lost its down by now and be fully feathered. Besides, the place I bought it (mypet chicken.com) does not even offer bantam Delawares. I've never heard of a bantam Delaware, but that does not mean they are not out there I guess - I really don't pay attention to bantams since my chickens are all for eggs or meat.

I suspect she is just a runt, but I'll continue to monitor her progress. Interestingly, I am slowly blending these chicks in with older chickens, first in a small coop and run next to the older chickens and now free ranging together. While the older chickens will give the chicks a peck or two to let them know who is in charge, they really leave the runt alone. Maybe she is just too little to pay attention to re: the pecking order.

I'll get ahold of My Pet Chicken and see what they have to say. I've always had really good luck with them and they are very responsive to any issues, so it will be interesting to get their take on the situation.
 
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tballard

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 3, 2014
11
16
89
Middle Tennessee
Here is the response I got from My Pet Chicken:

Quote: Thank you for contacting My Pet Chicken!

We are sorry for the delay in getting back to you, we had a number of our chicken experts take a look at your pictures. The difference in size is astonishing! Usually, this is "failure to thrive" which can be the result of a number of factors. It could be a genetic condition, a malformed digestive tract, or the inability to absorb certain proteins during the digestive process. She also could have gotten mites or lice at a critical stage of development--though this is unlikely, based on her excellent condition.

With my personal flock, I have nursed a few of these chicks along with care. They almost always end up being "special needs" birds, and are more likely to pass from secondary reasons like predators, illnesses, falling in a water trough, and so on. In general, they do not make it to sexual maturity. I can tell by your flock's condition you are taking extremely good care of them, so I have great hopes she will eventually catch up to live a long and happy life.

For business purposes, we consider "failure to thrive" a genetic issue, so we appreciate you letting us know. I will pass along the information to our flock manager. As we guarantee your chicks will arrive happy and healthy, you are due a refund for the small chick.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
22,933
32,559
1,102
Colorado Rockies
A week ago I lost just such a "failure-to-thrive" chick I had received from MPC. It was heart-breaking, but after a week, my chick was no bigger than the day I got her. I did everything possible to keep her alive, and at one point, it looked like she was going to make it, but on day five, she reversed, and closed her eyes lay down and never got up again. They reimbursed me for her.
 

PaolaH1234

In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 17, 2013
19
1
22
Rutherfordton, NC
Hi,
I have the same exact situation, except that mine are both the Delawares I got from MPC. I got 18 chicks total, different breeds, and they are all growing well, except the 2 Delawares. They eat and drink and poop fine, they don't seem to get picked on by the others, and they are feathering out. They are all 11 weeks old today and about a third the size of the others. Their combs and wattles are also slow growing. They don't have mites or lice and seem just as active as the others. I've been researching trying to find out if this breed is just slower growing, but after seeing your picture I realize mine are both just way behind. They are growing, just really really really slowly...
Not sure what do to other than just let them do their thing so long as they seem healthy. I couldn't cull them, they are just too adorable, they are actually some of my more tame girls and love to be "cuddled", which I can still do in my hand!
Any thoughts? Your answer from MPC is interesting, maybe I should contact them as well.
 

Buddy2biddies

Chirping
5 Years
May 27, 2014
25
0
55
I am having the exact same problem. I have 4 chicks that are 8 weeks old - All Wyandottes. One doesn't look much bigger than when I got them at 4 weeks - She has feathered more but is very small. They all get along well. She eats and drinks fine.

Can you give me an update on yours?
 

PaolaH1234

In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 17, 2013
19
1
22
Rutherfordton, NC
Hello, here in an update on my little "runts." So all my girls are 19 weeks now, and my two Delawares are still small. They have grown a bit, but barely. They are still little piggies and eating, drinking and pooping fine, just small. The other girls don't seem to pick on them but they do get run over when they are all heading for something yummy. I have noticed that they seem a little uncoordinated, not sure if that is because their little legs are still so little, or if they just have some sort of growth deformity type of issue. I have not been able to find anything concrete about it. On the bright side, they seem healthy otherwise and are total love bugs so I can easily pick them up and they just love to be held. I could probably carry one around with me all day and she would just be as happy as a clam.
A couple of my other girls have started laying and now I'm worried that if these girls start laying their little bodies won't handle it well. Unless they just lay little robin eggs... that would actually be quite cute. :)
So, although I probably won't get any sellable eggs from these two, they are just too cute and sweet to cull and as long as they seem happy and healthy they will remain part of the happy hen family.
Best of luck with your little runt. I named mine "Snowball" and "Lil' Bit" :)
 

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