Causes of stunted chick growth?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by fatcatx, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. fatcatx

    fatcatx Chillin' With My Peeps

    Can anyone tell me some of the reasons/potential diseases that would cause what appears to be stunted growth?
    We have a Wheaten Maran chick that hatched a little smaller than the others out of a normal sized egg but has barely grown since. They are about 10 days old now and it is half the size of the others. (The feeding picture is at 10 days. The other is at 6 days)

    It is much more mellow than the other chicks and seems to nap more but otherwise eats, drinks, etc. It is not an issue of access to the food. Does a type of dwarfism exist in poultry? Thanks for any insight.



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  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Cute babies. Maybe it's a girl, or a different parental size..

    Some babies are just smaller than others. If it seems healthy, nothing to worry about.

    I've never heard of poultry dwarfism, but anything is possible.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    There can be different reasons for some chicks to be small. You’ll get some of that in the same breed and sex, some are just smaller than others or slower to develop. I raise mine for meat so I butcher them and look inside. Normally if a chick is dramatically smaller than its hatchmates, assuming it is the same breed and sex and is not a bantam, there is something wrong internally. I’ve seen some where the internal organs are just the wrong size for the chicken, something is just out of proportion. My last one had a very light-colored liver that was over twice the size it should have been and hard. Some of them can hatch with birth defects. It’s not like you did anything wrong.

    You can continue to feed it and take care of it, just because it is small does not mean it is suffering. It may work out but the odds are it will never be a very productive chicken if you have a dramatic difference in size. Smaller hens of the same breed often lay quite well, but that size difference looks a bit dramatic for that.
     
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    @Ridgerunner , that is great information. I really appreciate your experience and willingness to share.

    We are just starting meat chickens (dual purpose), have raised hens for a few years. I am considering closed line breeding and will be learning how to .... well, handle chickens. Including butchering and necropsy. Do you still eat a chicken that passed on its own or only if it was chosen?

    Thanks!
     
  5. fatcatx

    fatcatx Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you Ridgerunner. Of remote concern was whether there was the possibility of it growing into a bantam sized hen with innards trying to lay a full-sized egg. I don't know if that can even happen but wanted to be on the look out.

    This was part of a small group that we hatched to sell but I guess we'll be keeping this one if it is a pullet. Pee Wee is probably here to stay.

    Eggsited: I don't think it is a sex thing since all of the others are about the same size (out of 7). Everyone at our house is rooting for it though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Only if it is chosen. I do eat the runts though. I'm cooking a runt cockerel Thursday, the one that had the bad liver.
     
  7. fatcatx

    fatcatx Chillin' With My Peeps

    I thought I would do a follow-up on this thread to give an update on our stunted chick. The first 2 weeks I had serious doubts it would live since it slept so much. When Pee Wee was awake, she was active and appeared normal. The size difference became even more pronounced in first month as you can see from the photos. But then she did a turn around, gained some steam and caught up quite a bit. The second photo is her current size which is about 1/2-1/3rd smaller than her clutch-mates. The only other abnormality is her tail feathers have had trouble coming in normally. They are currently 16 weeks and we are waiting to see if she is a successful layer. Best guess is she will lay a small or bantam size egg. I am hopeful that her innards are normal enough to not cause health problems.
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