Difference in chick size? Please advise...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ninabeast, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    Upstate New York
    I have a 2-month old flock of 3BO, 3BR, 3LB, and 3PR. I can't get over the difference in their sizes! (All girls, except Rudy who is to be rehomed.)

    I get that there are differences from breed to breed, and the Light Brahmas are waaaay bigger than the others. But aren't the Buff Orpingtons big birds, too? Because my BOs are the smallest of the twelve at the moment. Are Orpingtons slower growers?

    Also, I am seeing marked differences WITHIN a breed. I have a Barred Rock that is noticeably smaller than the others. Is this normal individual variation, or should I be concerned that they're not getting enough to eat? I've done everything I can to assure everyone is fed (large feeder, two large treat bowls, distributing treats evenly) but who knows what goes on when the coop door is closed....

    Your experience, as always, is much appreciated!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Each chicken is an individual. They are all different from each other in personality as well as physical characteristics. The different breeds have tendencies, but the individual can vary.

    Not all chickens of the same breed and color/pattern are going to be identical. A lot of that depends on the strain. A breeder will select for certain chacteristics, whether that be for egg laying, size, broodiness, color, pattern, skin color, number of points on the comb, or whatever. Each breeder has his/her own strain after a few generations. One strain can be quite a bit different from another strain, yet both be the same breed.

    Hatcheries also select for certain characterisitics, different hatcheries selecting differently. A big difference in the hatcheries and breeders is that the breeder will normally select the one or two best hen to put with a specific rooster so he has pretty tight control on what the offspring looks like. The hatcheries, on the other hand, usually have several roosters and hens in a common pen so they have no control over which individual roosters and hens mate. With that, you can get quite a bit of variety in the appearance of the offspring.

    My hatchery Buff Orps were no larger than my hatchery Delaware or Australorps. That is pretty commom with hatchery chickens.
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I think my BOs were a little slower than the BRs, and I have two LBs are pretty big.
    Some breeds mature slowly, JGs can take 2 years to get full size. But I never notice a big difference among individuals in the same breed.

    Except for what they find free ranging I don't provide treats to birds until 12-16 weeks. Treats mess with the nutritional balance of the grower feed and shouldn't make up more than 10 % of the intake of any birds.
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I have 2 or 3 of brahmas, barred rocks, faverolles, new hampshires, silkies, wyandottes,and millie fleurs, and there is usually but not always a larger and smaller one of each breed. Some have caught up now that they are 9 weeks old, but my buff brahmas are huge.
  5. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    Upstate New York
    Thanks, all. That helps. Especially interesting to know the difference between breeders and hatcheries, Ridgerunner!

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