How sharp should the keel bone feel?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by technodoll, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been palpating the flock one by one to make sure their crops are full and muscle tone/fat level is good (it's a bitterly cold winter and they need to be in good health).

    Is it normal to feel the "keel bone" as being sharp against my hand?

    Should it be covered in a bit of fat or muscle?

    The sides of the bone don't feel padded, either...

    I'm afraid my flock is a bit thin!

    ps: they were wormed 2 weeks ago with Piperazine, egg production is good and steady.
     
  2. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

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    Are they molting or just finished? Molting will cause weight loss as well as other issues. Beef up the protein and fatten them up. Hopefully one of the more experienced hands will chime in.
     
  3. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nobody is molting, AFAIK...

    They get 26% protein crumbles as well as corn mixed in their layer feed, they get oatmeal breakfasts with meat, treats are BOSS and peanuts, they have suet to peck at...

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

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    Other options for good protein add Calf Mana it is a pellet form usually. My girls are still molting and it is cold so I added the mana to their food at a 25% mana 75% regular food. Scrambled eggs, oatmeal, green beans and such are good. Also do not be afraid to feed them cooked chicken, turkey or beef. Avian Charge I heard is good to give them also.

    Usually the keel bone should not be felt really. I mean you know it is there but you cannot feel it or its contour. When they lose weight, you will start to feel it. I have a couple girls that I can feel that the keel bone is there but I cannot trace the contour bone or anything....so they still have meat on their bones but they have dropped weight through this molt...bigtime.

    When you wormed them, did you do a follow-up worming for example worm them wait and 10 days later worm again? That needs to be done to get any hatching larvae after the first worm. Also, they will need probiotics after the worming to put the good stuff back in their systems. The Piperazine is not a broad spectrum wormer so there are parasites they can have that it will not kill. Ivermectin is a good broad spectrum wormer. Can you take a fecal sample in to a vet for a float test? Usually they are only $10 - 20 and my dog's vet has done two of them for me.

    Also...cross-post your original post in the Emergencies, Illness and Injuries section.... see what kind of feedback you can muster over there regarding the bird(s) being very thin.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  5. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    See, I only know for sure that one of the birds had roundworms (confirmed by fecal sample) and although he was in the same coop as the other birds, he was always separated by wire so no direct interaction.

    As a precaution I treated everyone, even if the laying girls showed no signs of worms.

    Since the treatment they seem to have lost weight - I'm not sure if this is coincidence as it's been extremely cold the past couple of weeks?

    Keep bone is sharp and protuding on pretty much everyone, but I don't know if it's always been this way - I don't THINK so though.

    I can add probiotics to their morning breakfast, for sure!

    I think I may have to buy a bag of Purina Layena since they were doing well on that before... no more free-ranging isn't helping, either.

    [​IMG]

    ps: Piperazine instructions say one treatment is enough, it works in their systems for 2 weeks to eliminate all worm stages and to repeat the treatment after 30 days if there was presence of severe infestation. Is this wrong info? [​IMG]
     
  6. Amethyste

    Amethyste For Love of Boo...

    I know also if they are young birds, not quite to point of lay, they may have a little more prominent keel bone than a fully mature hen. The youngsters are still putting on mature weight and mass...it might take a little time .

    But yes, i agree...suppliment with scrambled eggs, or game bird high protien feed (20%ish or higher), BOSS, some bits of turkey or chicken...cooked meat, things like that...just to give a lil extra protien going.
     
  7. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

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    Technodoll...I bet it is from the worming...follow the bottle's instructions and watch their poo for a bit. Get them the probiotics to get their good bacteria built up again and stuff them full of good proteins...all they want. Because of my two girls that lost weight with the molting...I put a turkey carcass in there for them to pick clean after thanksgiving and christmas. I mean they picked it clean! I gave them all the leftover green beans, baked squash and such.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  8. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK thanks everyone... I'm giving them LOTS of protein-rich foods but will add the probiotics - my flock has a few young birds but most are either laying or close to laying (some roos in there too).

    I probably worry too much? [​IMG]
     
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    As far as your feed goes, I think 26% is too high, however, you said you are adding corn. I cannot do that since mine would push the pellets on the ground and just eat corn, which has only 8% protein. If you just feed 16% layer, the most common type, without corn, and add an oatmeal concoction a couple times a week with canned salmon, yogurt, and some olive, cod or wheat germ oil, they should begin to gain weight slowly, barring other complications. Not sure what's available in your area, though.
     
  10. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The little crumpets have been eating the corn bits first and fussing around with the feed, so I will mix up Layena with the turkey growth pellets (26% protein) and ease up on the corn, keep it only as scratch treats with the BOSS. It was working fine before so I'll go back to that!

    Hopefully that will pad them up a bit!

    THANK YOU!
     

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