Chickens not roosting

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by romeoz13, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. romeoz13

    romeoz13 Out Of The Brooder

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    So I have been reading around and I know I messed up with raising my chicks but I want to fix it. Currently I have 4 chicks, I hatched them from my in laws who run a Tyson Chicken Farm. My chicks are a good size, not skinny like most chickens I have seen. They are going to be 20 weeks old this Thursday. One is laying eggs every other day about and they other three are not. Now I had a little coop that I bought and I had this on my back porch. For this first five weeks they lived in doors and had potty pads. I moved them outside into their coop and they slept on straw and concrete. This is where I really messed up. The Roosting Bar...I didn't know the needed to roost vs being on the ground. Now I build a bigger place I have roosting bars. I have tried to put them up on there but they will stay for a few minutes and jump down. They don't know what it is or what they should be doing because I never had them do it at birth. I am getting two hens that are 6 months old, crème legbar, and I was hoping they would be able to show the other chicks how to roost...will this work or did I ruin my chickens. Also, I noticed their belly's are bare from feathers, this is why I think we really messed up. Any advice would be greatly appreciated and I know we messed up but I just want advice on how to fix this.
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Can you post photos of your birds - given the source and some of the description of your birds I would suspect you may have some Cornish-Cross meat birds on your hands. This may play into some of the issues you are seeing as well as future management practices you may need to employ.
     
  3. Jungleexplorer

    Jungleexplorer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What kind of chickens are they? You said you got the chicks from a Tyson Chicken Farm. Are they Broilers? If so your may be in for trouble. You said they are 20 weeks old. That is longer then most industrial breed broilers should live. If your chicks are broilers that have been bred for the industrial food chain, they may just be devoid of any natural instinct to roost and may be to heavy to climb. Generally speaking, broilers will grow faster then their bones can develop and end up becoming crippled because their bones cannot bare their weight. If they are broilers (and I am not saying they are) this would be one reason their undersides are bare; their legs can't pick their bodies off the ground.

    These are all assumptions based on what you said about them coming from a Tyson farm. I really don't know.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
  4. romeoz13

    romeoz13 Out Of The Brooder

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    my wife is sending me pictures now and I will post them in a few minutes. So my in laws have a chicken farm, they have chicken houses and give the fertile eggs to Tysons Chicken every 3 days. They said they keep the hens for about 9 months until Tyson switches them out. When we went to visit they gave us eggs to eat but we decided to hatch them and try and raise chickens. So this is where we are at. I will post pics soon.
     
  5. romeoz13

    romeoz13 Out Of The Brooder

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  6. Jungleexplorer

    Jungleexplorer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sure sounds like the are an industrial bird. The question is, are they an industrial meat bird or and egg bird. When I was young I did some day labor emptying out 12,000 chickens from an egg farm onto truck (OH the smell!). We were told that if we dropped a bird on the way to the truck, not to chase it because it was not worth it. After the day was over, I asked if I could catch the birds for my self and I ended up with 62 birds. I raised kept them through the molt and when they started laying, Oh Brother! But the point here is that, when I first got these birds, they no natural instinct at all. They just huddled together in the middle of the chicken coop (an old barn I converted). I took months for them to start to show any signs of intelligence, but they eventually did and even learned how to rooster, but only after a lot of work on our part.
     
  7. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    As I suspected, you have Cornish-cross meat birds there - and that is the cause of the issues you are having both with the featherless bellies and the lack of roosting behavior. If one wishes to keep these birds beyond the usual butcher point of 6-8 weeks they have to be very carefully managed as far as feed and keeping to prevent the very rapid growth and heavy development they are designed to have. Unfortunately, at the point your birds are at, the time for that careful management has passed. The comparison you made earlier about how large these birds are compared to other birds you see as "skinny" is exactly the problem - the other birds you have seen are from breeds and lines developed for longevity and long-term production - these birds have been developed for one thing, to get as big and meaty as they can as fast as possible so that they can go from hatch to freezer in a minimum amount of time.
     
  8. Jungleexplorer

    Jungleexplorer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    These sure look like meat birds to me. I hate to say this because it means that you may be forced to kill them at some point soon. I had a friend last year that was given some birds just like these and he tried to keep them but they all eventually became crippled and unable to walk. I was really hoping that they would turn out to be egg production birds for your sake.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
  9. romeoz13

    romeoz13 Out Of The Brooder

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    Two of them are laying eggs now. The second layed an egg for the first time and she just sits in her coop and doesn't walk around anymore but she is the thinnest of them all. When you mean kill them. Will they die or will they just not walk which means they are suffering and they should be put down? I'm not sure how I can exaplin this to my wife. They are like family to us :(
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Those are broilers, not commercial egg layers. Commercial egg layers are small, like leghorns.

    If they are selling fertile eggs to Tyson, they are keeping either a parent or grandparent flock in the process of creating the broiler chicks. The way the broilers are made they keep one specific flock for each of the grandparents, say the maternal grandfather of the broiler. Separately they keep two separate flocks that produce either the mother or father of the broiler. Then they have a seventh separate flock that actually lays the hatching eggs the broilers hatch from. I have no idea which of those seven flocks your in-laws are keeping. It could change as long as they don’t get mixed.

    I find this video to be quite informative on how at least one company does it. You might speak to your in-laws to see how they feed their flock. They might do it differently. It probably involves restricting how much food they eat each day so they don’t get too large to mate. They can easily suffer from the same problems as the broilers too. They can grow so fast their skeleton can’t keep up so they have problems with bones or joints or their heart just stops working from being so big.

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    It’s not really directly related to their health but often they grow so fast feather growth cannot keep up. That’s why you can get that baldness. It may eventually fill in.

    They are so big they can easily hurt themselves jumping down if they jump from any real distance. They may never roost and probably should not, but at most put a 2x4 or something like that a couple of inches above your floor to see if they want to roost there. It won’t hurt them to sleep on the floor unless the floor is wet. It really won’t. They will be OK.

    They are raised to produce hatching eggs. They probably lay petty well as long as they are managed properly to stay healthy. That means restrict their food so they don’t get too big or grow so fast. If you want to keep them long term you need to determine how to feed them. It may already be too late but maybe you can at least give them a chance if you can get them to lose some weight.

    Good luck! That can be challenging.
     

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