How thin is too thin?

Dona Worry

Crowing
Jul 5, 2018
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My handsome boy Nardole is constantly skinny. If you feel his breast bone it is vastly more prominent than all the other chickens, and he just feels light for his size.
20181117_164213.jpg

No sign of worms, no sign of illness. He has a virtually unnoticeable cross beak that I keep filed down, and they are getting a 22% protein feed free choice.

I think the problem is he is too high strung. I NEVER see him eat. Ever. In the morning he is ALWAYS standing on the nest box keeping track of the layers. I open the door and out he goes, scanning for danger. He tidbits for the hems when he finds the goodies I put out for them, then he finds a place to stand watch if they are in the run, and if they are free ranging he leads them to the bushes and stands on the edge, only taking breaks to escort the girls back to the coop to lay.

I never see him dust bathe.
I never see him eat.
I never see him relax.
I'm at a loss. I want to switch the hens down to a lower protein feed for winter, as they are eating less low-protein snacks, and besides, they ARE getting chubby, but I don't dare while Nardy boy is liable to float away on a stray breeze!

I thought about trying to put him in with the new chicks early, where the space is smaller and the routine is less demanding, but I am not sure I want to move Clara early, and she needs to go with him because Rory likes to bully her, and Nardole protects her.

I have tried offering him supplemental food, but if he is separated from his flock he becomes depressed and won't eat, and if he is left WITH the flock, he feeds them his special food!

What to do?! Is he just forever destined to be thin? Will he grow out of his hypervigilance? Does he have some sort of metabolic disorder?
 

Dona Worry

Crowing
Jul 5, 2018
1,526
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Vermont
Is his crop full at night?
Poop look OK?
Might want to get fecal done to truly rule out any worms.
Might his head gear be obscuring his vision to the point of nervousness?
How old is he, is he molting?
Just some thoughts.
Poop looks normal.
I think he was hatched in early march, but I have honestly lost track. He isn't molting.
He is the only thin one, and has been skinny since I brought him home.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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SW Michigan
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Poop looks normal.
I think he was hatched in early march, but I have honestly lost track. He isn't molting.
He is the only thin one, and has been skinny since I brought him home.
When did you bring him home?
Wondering if he may have had coccidiosis and it damaged his intestines, reducing nutrient uptake. If he has a crossbeak, slight as it is, it can indicate other things amiss inside.
 

Dona Worry

Crowing
Jul 5, 2018
1,526
6,918
377
Vermont
When did you bring him home?
Wondering if he may have had coccidiosis and it damaged his intestines, reducing nutrient uptake. If he has a crossbeak, slight as it is, it can indicate other things amiss inside.
Early June.
He has been bright and active enough, he is just intense. Always on. But, I can't rule out an early sickness-- I got him from my cousin and I know they lost a couple of chicks shortly after getting them, maybe a could of weeks old.
I try to remind myself that obese is worse than a bit skinny, but it is still worrying to me.
Any broad-spectrum wormers I should try to hit him with just in case? 'Tis the season for worming.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,147
126,060
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SW Michigan
My Coop
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Early June.
He has been bright and active enough, he is just intense. Always on. But, I can't rule out an early sickness-- I got him from my cousin and I know they lost a couple of chicks shortly after getting them, maybe a could of weeks old.
I try to remind myself that obese is worse than a bit skinny, but it is still worrying to me.
Any broad-spectrum wormers I should try to hit him with just in case? 'Tis the season for worming.
So an early illness could be at play....it's really hard to say.
I know next to nothing about wormers, I avoid any meds.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
44,805
78,352
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Wisconsin
My polish are scrawny bony birds. I am always amazed by the size of the eggs that come out of the hens.

Most chickens aren't fully filled out until 2 years of age, yours is still a young bird. As long as he's acting fine, eating, drinking, and scratching, I wouldn't worry.
 
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MANNA-PRO

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