1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

How can you tell if your chickens are thin?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ThinkingChickens, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Songster

    Feb 18, 2011
    I know this sounds dumb, but my husband said he thought two of our girls seemed thin because their breast bones stick out. They eat well, lay well and are happy. How can one tell if a chicken is too thin? Maybe it's just breed? The thinner ones are the Delaware and the JG (she's still young) and the Barred Rock is our resident chub! Maybe I should switch feed?
    giriraja likes this.

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Not dumb! It's a hard thing to judge, I think. And I have not had those breeds. I do know they reach full height and then finish their "filling out," so maybe it is age related. Henderson's says JGs are very slow to mature.
  3. Hot2Pot

    Hot2Pot Fox Hollow Rabbitry

    Feb 1, 2010
    West TN
    If you pick them up and their chest feels bony, I guess. But overly fat isn't good. As long as they are happy and laying, with red combs, they are probably fine. They will probably fill in. Do they get exercise ?
  4. abbey808

    abbey808 Songster

    Jun 30, 2011
    Thank you for asking. I was wondering the same thing. My Barred Rock and RIR are both 5 months old. The RIR feels a lot heftier and filled out than my BR. I was worried that my Barred Rock was too thin as I can feel her breast bone, but I cannot feel it on my RiR. Maybe it's breed related? Just different body types? I hope so, they both eat well and seem healthy and happy. It's hard when you are a first time chicken owner and don't have very many chickens to compare with each other.
  5. We hold our chickens a lot, daily (they're SO demanding!). When our silkie got thin, it turned out she had mites. We mistook her weakness for broodiness, because she stayed in the nest box a lot, and, well, she's a Silkie... She ate well, but got so thin. Then one day, DS noticed moving brownish sandy specks all over his arm after picking her up (She's his girl). After we treated her and the coop for mites, she hefted back up. She avoids wood now, she has a cute red plastic tupperware nest box. Now, we check regularly for mites. She IS broody, so it can be hard to tell.
  6. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Songster

    Feb 18, 2011
    My Delaware definitely has a protruding breast bone but is very active and eats well. She doesn't have mites. She's very clean and we also hold her often. Maybe it's just that she's young. I went out and gave them sunflower seeds and some eggs this morning and I'll continue to offer snacks. I'm also going to try a different feed this round. She seems happy. Oh, they are 24 weeks in a few days.
  7. Dual purpose birds always grow bone before filling out.. so they will reach their adult size THEN start adding on muscle tissue
    1 person likes this.

  8. TrystInn

    TrystInn Songster

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    Its fairly easy to tell, actually. Hold your chicken like a football in one hand. You'll feel the keel of their breastbone. If the muscle rising off either side of the keel is deep and convex, your bird is in excellent condition. If the muscle is convex, meaning it curves inward, you have a bird that is not putting on muscle for some reason. A thorough inspection of the bird should then give you information as to the issue at hand: empty or sparsely filled crop, mites, etc.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by