Chickens seem thin...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Riven, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. Riven

    Riven Songster

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    Apr 27, 2009
    Central Nebraska
    My chickens seem thin, I'm doing treatment right now for deworming ( wasine) I don't think that cocci is a concern really because the chicks seem thin too ( they are in adjoining pens ) and they are one medicated feed.

    The chicks get medicated feed with a little bits of flax and BOSS.
    The adults get 2/3 layer crumbles with 1/3 scratch mix & flax BOSS.

    I mix probiotics with all of the feed. The adult bunch gets healthy scraps ( which equals about a quarter sized chunk each or less per day ) and various greens at least once or twice a week.

    They all have fresh water and clean pens, I clean pens at least once a week more if needed. The adults have a very large pen, I'm going to guess it's 20' x 40' or so plus a coop. The chicks in question have a 3'x 3' inside area with an outside run about 4' x 6'.

    Any suggestions?!
     
  2. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

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    Quote:First, what is the medication in the laying feed? Most layer is non-medicated which concerns me that you might be using an antibiotic as layers are usually old enough to be mostly immune to coccidiosis and thus the medication won't be a cocciodiostat.

    Second, the chicks are too young for BOSS. Try Clovite if you want to condition them.

    Third, eek back the scratch to a treat. If you want to feed grains, try just corn chops or, better yet, whole (unhulled race horse type) oats. They're higher protein, higher in nutrition, and the hulls are beneficial to the birds. Again they should still be less than 10% of their diet for phosphorus concerns. Also please provide free-choice oyster shell for those birds who need a higher (15:1) cal/phos ratio.

    The diet isn't bad, but there are some things that can be causing issues here. On the laying pellets, go to a higher protein if it's available. They should also have granite grit to use the BOSS.

    How old are the chicks again? They shouldn't need worming this young. But since you're doing it, do the adults, too. Then just worm with fenbendazole or pour-on ivermectin (adults only for both) in 2-4 weeks and then twice annually for a really effective worming program.

    For weight gain with the chicks, if they're growth age (8 weeks to 5 months) or even a little younger, you can buy gamefowl starter or flock raiser and use that. It has a little more protein, puts a little more condition and weight on them.

    Which probiotic are you using, and how much, how often? I usually only use it weekly as too often, depending on the product, can just be over doing it when it's not quite necessary - though it shouldn't hurt if it's a dry probiotic.

    I'm wondering if protein isn't the issue here - that they need more. I'm looking forward to your reply. [​IMG]
     
  3. Riven

    Riven Songster

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    Apr 27, 2009
    Central Nebraska
    The chick feed is medicated, not the layer. The chicks per day have access to abt than 1 BOSS each with the mix.

    I would say the scratch is 1 TBS to 1/2 cup if that helps any... I just re-read my post and I said 1/3 but when I think about it, I don't think it's that much. Each adult gets abt 1 T. of scratch mix per day, maybe it would probably be best if I just took a photo, lol. The scratch is not traditional scratch in itself, it's "fancy scratch" mixed with my chinchilla supplement, which is flax, barley, whole cracked oats,& red bran.

    The layer is 18%, I just started deworming them.

    I put them on the probiotic because some of them seem to be a little loose, not bad, but the probiotic helped it and it's fine now. It's a probiotic powder of acidiophilus and herbs that I use ( it's all human grade, I've used it before, and I use it for my chinchillas which has sensitive GIT's.). I mix it in their crumbles so they get a little each day, the general rule with probiotics is you can't OD, but if you were feeding it as a supplement per se, they could over eat that and not get enough basic nutrition from their staple feed.

    They always have food and always eat well. Every morning I dump any bit that is left in their feed troughs and refill, it's usually a small amount of crumbles, their dish in the coop always has feed in it.

    Their poos look fine ( as a few more watery ones that have cleared up with the probiotics) they eat and drink good, act normal and happy. I've checked them for lice and treated the coop just in case...

    My neighbors feed close 1/2 crumbles and 1/2 scratch and all their chickens seem nice and plump. Mine don't "look" skinny per se, but when you pick them up they don't feel fat which is what is concerning me.

    Opps, they have free choice of oyster shells, they have dirt and "dust" in their pens, shavings in the coops. I generally keep things simple or try, but I started the probiotic because of the loose stools, and the flax "supplement" mix to give a little variety and hoping to add more protein and healthy oils to fatten them up some.

    What are the advantages of the layer crumbles over the 18% all purpose? Any? Perhaps I should mix some grower crumbles or all purpose in? Maybe I should stop worrying so much?

    We have a roo that we put in a smaller pen to fatten up to butcher, he's on the all purpose, and after moving him into the pen he's gained weight quickly, so I'm guessing that they move around so much has some to do with their weight...

    Sorry.. I'm rambling now!
     
  4. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

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    The difference between layer and all purpose, protein being the same, might be the calcium levels but I'd have to see the calcium max and phos max of the label to see that. There are other things as well, but that's the main thing if the other food is a really good food. Honestly I'd have to see the whole label, including the types of ingredients that they chose to include, and often the brand as some brand labels appear exactly the same but the quality of the feed might be vastly different. Which two feeds exactly are you comparing? We could run them down on here.

    D vitamin levels will also be different (and not denotated on the label) to help with the absorbtion of the calcium as calcium never stands alone.

    I'm betting however that the a/p feed has less than a 6:1 cal/phos level, maybe more of a general flock. That's just guessing however.

    not knowing what the a/p I'm not sure I'd mix it into the other feed, because of supplementation issues. But certainly on any males if they're intended for slaughter you could use it. Does the feed have a purpose listed on the label?

    Good on the oyster shell - most feeds are designed for a theoretical hen, though accurate for a theoretical average, not so for the whole. So that and their basic care sounds great. 1 tablespoon is vastly different from 30% of their feed being grain, no matter if the grain is spectacular, it's still high phos and not fortified for a correct level of vitamin D even if you provided extra calcium and for layers that can be problematic. You're not having problems with skipped eggs, just would like to see more condition.

    I dont' think I asked this - but are you wanting more weight for slaughter or just because you'd like a little more condition on the birds?

    Still no age given on the chicks. I still don't really like to use BOSS for them until they're at least fully feathered. That's about when I feel they can handle the load on their gizzard, of course being given good granite grit.

    I'm really curious about your a/p feed now. I hope you're able to provide some leads on it because I'm always interested in how different brands approach utility.
     
  5. Riven

    Riven Songster

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    Apr 27, 2009
    Central Nebraska
    For feed I'm feed the "country lane" from Orschelins of course I just came in from outside and didn't grab a label!

    I'll get a photo of the feed in the morning, it's been a long day. We put up corn for the winter.

    The chicks are fully feathered in varied ages, the younger chicks don't get the BOSS or grains, just medicated feed with probiotic in it, they are in different pens so the bigger chickens don't pick on them and they have their heat lamp, etc.

    Mostly conditioning for the reason for weight gain, they just seem kind of thin to me, mostly if I pick them up, they seem to thin in the breast. My kids picked out some chicks this spring from the farm store and ended up with a fryer, we put him in a small pen and he's put on tremendous weight while being confined, so I'm sure that just being more active is part of it, but especially when the cold comes I want to make sure they are ready for it! Recently I had a decrease in egg production, but we also acquired a couple new hens and a new roo, along with some girls molting I wasn't too concerned about it. After a couple weeks in a lull they are picking back up and are almost back to "full production" again. I do have some pullets that should be starting to lay too, and I'm anxiously awaiting that!

    My dad said he thinks they need to have more grit added to their pen, I wouldn't consider our soil clay really, but it's not "rocky" or "sandy" either... so I'm going to look into picking some grit up tomorrow, I figure it can't hurt right?!
    I couldn't find the nutrition information online for the feed, but I'll get it and get it up!

    Thanks for the help, I just want to try to do the best for the girls and make sure they are healthy and happy!
     
  6. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

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    I got as far as finding the bag but not the label. LOL Ahhh that sort of thing makes me crazy with curiosity because it's labeled as truly all purpose, which makes me wonder.... 'how?'. Now I'm really intrigued!

    As for the new pullets that's always the best part - that anticipation and those first eggs. I hope they're all good producers for you.

    On the grit, likely. Grit given free choice in a pan will help them increase in weight as they can better use all their feed. I've read that in a number of books on weight gain and chickens for laying and meat. It definitely can't hurt. If they don't need it, they'll leave til they do. I just freshen it occassionally.

    I'm going to keep looking for a label or probably email them and see if they can shoot me a list of ingredients and the nutritional analysis. I want to see how they pulled this off. [​IMG]
     
  7. Riven

    Riven Songster

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    Central Nebraska
    I just brought in a bag... after searching the bag I found where it says nutrition information on tag... which I tear off usually when I pay because it has a bar code on it! So I went back out and couldn't find one! I was like you've got to be kidding me!

    But I'll be in to pick up grit tomorrow so I can grab one then!
     
  8. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

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    Quote:LOL nice! The mystery continues! [​IMG] Thanks, though. I'm really super curious now. [​IMG]
     
  9. Riven

    Riven Songster

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    Apr 27, 2009
    Central Nebraska
    Okay... I found an old scraggley tag!

    Ingredients: Grain products, plant protein products, processed grain products, forage products, roughage products, vit. D3 supplement, Vit E supp. Vitamin B12 sup. Riboflavin sup. niacin supp. calcium panth, and then it gets hard to read ( it was crumpled and wet at one point, lol )

    Guaranteed analysis: ( in percents)

    Crude Protein: min 16.0
    Lysine - min 0.6
    methilonine min 3.25
    Crude fat - min 3.0
    Crude fiber - max 8.0
    Calcium - min 2.5 max 3.0
    Phosphorus - min 0.45
    Salt min 0.25 max .75
    sodium min 0.17 max 0.4

    Hope that came out alright... I'm a lazy typist!
     
  10. threehorses

    threehorses Songster

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    Houston
    OK this is going to be long. [​IMG]

    First MG - not a wonderful feed in life or by design, but certainly can be used. I've used it before with no health issues other than some soft shells which were corrected by using oyster shell (which I always do now). So I often use this as a sort of minimum standard feed.

    MG 16% LAYER FEED GRANULES
    Complete Feed for Laying Chickens

    GUARANTEED ANALYSIS

    Crude Protein (Min) ........... 16.00%
    Lysine (Min)......................... 0.65%
    Methionine (Min) ..................0.35%
    Crude Fat (Min).................... 2.50%
    Crude Fiber (Max)................ 5.00%
    Calcium (CA) (Min)................ 3.00%
    Calcium (CA) (Max) .............. 4.00%
    Phosphorus (P) (Min) ........... 0.65%
    Salt (NaCl) (Min) ................... 0.25%
    Salt (NaCl) (Max)................... 0.50%

    INGREDIENT STATEMENT
    Grain products, plant protein products, processed grain byproducts, dehydrated alfalfa meal, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B-12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, niacin supplement, salt, d-calcium pantothenate, choline chloride, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), folic acid, manganous oxide, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, cobalt carbonate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, sodium selenite, 1-lysine, dl-methionine, dried extracted streptomyces meal and fermentation solubles, dried extracted penicillium fermentation solubles.

    Note that it states vitamin A clearly as it's one of the more important vitamins for bird health. I'm hoping maybe yours did, too, but that in typing it for us (thank you thank you thank you for all that hard work) it got left off. I'd make sure that you see "vitamin A supplement" on the feed tag or I would not feed it except as a supplement or without making sure there was some A given. (See below). In this feed, this is the minimum I'd ever want to see calcium. 4% and a roughly 4:1 cal/phos balance. (Again I had problems with shell condition on it).

    --------------------- Purina SunFresh Layena 16%------------
    Protein, not less than 16.0%
    Lysine, not less than 0.55%
    Methionine, not less than 0.25%
    Fat, not less than 2.5%
    Fiber, not more than 7.0%
    Calcium, not less than 3.25%
    Calcium, not more than 4.25%
    Phosphorus, not less than 0.5%
    Salt, not less than 0.3%
    Salt, not more than 0.8%
    Vitamin A 3,000 IU/lb
    Vitamin E 10.5 IU/lb

    They don't give the tag, but Purina is a stickler about letting you know that they're a complete feed - so they give the VitA amount on the analysis. Note on this one the Phos is lower, the calcium percentages are higher and it comes out about 7:1 - 8:1 roughly. Standard is about 6:1 for a good laying choice. The vitamin D in this will be fortified higher to meet the higher calcium levels though it doesn't list it on the label.
    -------------------Purina Flock Raiser 20% - a/p to laying feed ---------
    Protein, not less than 20.0%
    Lysine, not less than 0.95%
    Methionine, not less than 0.35%
    Fat, not less than 3.5%
    Fiber, not more than 5.0%
    Calcium, not less than 0.8%
    Calcium, not more than 1.3%
    Phosphorus, not less than 0.7%
    Salt, not less than 0.35%
    Salt, not more than 0.85%
    Vitamin A 7,000 IU/lb
    Vitamin E 14 IU/lb
    In this feed, phos levels are higher again. Calcium levels are way lower indicating it's not a laying feed. They're under 1%. The ratio is the normal 2:1 cal/phos ratio required for most animals and non-laying birds.
    ------------------

    On the a/p feed, the calcium is lower than what is normally even a low standard for a laying feed. 3% with a ratio of 6:1 - which is odd. Because they don't provide much calcium. They provide it in a decent cal/phos ratio for layers - but that's pretty high for growers, except that the levels are so low. It's mixed up. It's like they aren't doing either really.

    Purina's start and grow's calcium is this:
    Calcium, not less than 0.75%
    Calcium, not more than 1.25%
    So the a/p is much higher than a growing feed - much more high than I would think is normally given. Too much calcium in young birds isn't really a great idea - which is why you don't feed them laying feed and just have it all done from the start. But this isn't quite the usual laying feed calcium. They're giving nearly twice the levels of calcium than a normal start/grow. But almost half the levels of a layer.

    And then there's the methionine - maybe a mistype, but definitely very high - possibly 0.32 which is about like the 0.35 or 0.4 of layer and broiler feeds - intended for either the amino acids for egg production or for growth. Their flyer keeps talking about "high energy", which usually I'd think that it would be protein that builds the egg. Odd choice of words as proteins aren't usually the energy - the fats and carbs are more of the 'high energy'.

    "16% All Purpose Poultry crumbles provide high energy for maximum egg production. Poultry crumbles are flexible for use as grower and developer with chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, and gamebirds, from 6 weeks through laying.

    "16% Laying pellets or crumbles provide high energy ration for high egg production. Highly palatable to encourage maximum consumption." <-- their description on a flyer.

    On the flyer they only show the All Purpose bag, but the wording above indicates maybe there's a layer (perhaps with a better higher calcium). So maybe they do this so you can feed everyone in one yard without hens missing too much calcium?

    Their protein is in line with the standard proteins for layers 16-18% but lower than the standard for growing (18-20%), way lower than starter (20-22%), and much lower than game birds (20+%).

    Since they're promising it's ok, you could try it. I would never ever be without oyster shell for adults, and I'd probably give cod liver oil sprayed on the feed twice weekly to provide vitamin A and D for adults. Only adults. I'd watch carefully for any signs of hypercalcemia (overage in calcium) for young birds. There are some studies that show in fast growing chicks a diet in over 1.5% calcium can indeed cause hypercalcemia (while it didn't as much in slow growing chicks). And of course since calcium never stands on its own, but always in relationship with vitamin D and phosphorus, if you use too much calcium for chicks then it messes with the levels of the other nutrients and their availability for bodily function and growth.

    It might just be one of those "try it and see" feeds, but I'm betting it's lower protein levels won't make you as happy as a higher protein feed for babies. Just a hunch.

    Very interesting feed though! I noticed there were no other options other than medicated start/grow, and scratch. I suppose this is their answer to the Purina "Flock Raiser" as it's not medicated - but the calcium levels still make me raise an eyebrow for layers. On the same page, they sell oyster shell. [​IMG] So they have that right.

    I'm going to email them and ask their suggestions on the feed because I absolutely LOVE different feeds and manufacturer philosophy and how they justify and explain their choices. Thank you again so very much for going out of your way to type out all that tag information! You're awesome. I wish I could say something more clear about the feed - it's just a strange mix. I'm very interested to know how you find it if you do decide to use it.

    By the way how are the birds today? Any changes?
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009

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