How to tell bird is thin?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by secuono, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. secuono

    secuono Songster

    May 29, 2010
    So, to me, near all my birds seem thin. How do I exactly tell my birds are thin or not? Seems like the bone in the middle sticks out on all of them. How much should I feel on their breasts? I just don't know...
    If I had a 5lbs and smaller scale, like a kitchen scale, I would use that and known weights. But I don't have one, so how else can I know?
    I feed layer crumbles from Tractor Supply, 2 cups of scratch a day. There are about 30 birds total, most are under 9weeks. They don't free range, but have a 20 by 40ft run. I give them treats 2-4x a week, yogurt, bread, old food, etc.

  2. True Grit

    True Grit Songster

    At 9 weeks they should still be on starter/grower I believe. Not layer until they start to lay.
  3. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Songster

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    Right. They need the extra protein in the starter and the extra calcium in the layer feed is not good for them. Perhaps their percentage of treat to feed ratio might be a bit high as well?
  4. silkieroo

    silkieroo Songster

    Apr 14, 2010
    Durham NH
    If there breast bone is jutting out of there chest and feels kind of "sharp" then there probably a little thin. Which can be due to internal parasites (worms) external parasites (lice mites ect.) sickness or lack of food.

  5. secuono

    secuono Songster

    May 29, 2010
    There is a feeder for the chicks with chick food, they rarely go eat the adult food.
    For 30 chickens, 2cups doesn't seem like a lot. Maybe that's just me. I read somewhere that someone was giving 1.5 cups and they had 10-15 birds.

    There is nothing on the birds, all look clean, nothing at the skin anywhere on them.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
  6. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Correct, way too much scratch (chicken candy) and should be grower feed; the extra calcium in layer actually is harmful to their organs.

    You'll feel the breast bone on a healthy pullet, too. It's not an easy thing to describe. They won't exactly feel fat at that age. I can tell only because I've picked up so many fat hens, or at least fat enough.
  7. HorizonSon

    HorizonSon Songster

    Oct 5, 2010
    Pacific NW
    Another method is to cut their head off, dunk 'em in boiling water a few seconds, pull their feathers out, yank their guts out and weigh them in the kitchen... You can return them to the flock after weighing them; however, they will get severely "picked" on!


  8. GammaPoppyLilyFlutter

    GammaPoppyLilyFlutter Love Comes with Feathers

    Jun 26, 2010
    Quote:I don't have a small chicken scale, but what I did was weigh myself alone. Then I'd pick up a chicken, weigh myself with the chicken, and subtract my weight from the weight with the chicken. It may not be totally accurate but it's better than nothing
  9. secuono

    secuono Songster

    May 29, 2010
    They are bantams, so the human scale will be more off. It is already 5lbs off, more or less for a person. We have to weight ourselves a few times and clear the scale before each time, then pick the median, lol. I don't think it will really notice Japs and tiny babies...unless we held a few..
    When my dog killed 10 of my birds, I cut one open, not really worth the bother, even to feed to the dogs...

  10. secuono

    secuono Songster

    May 29, 2010
    Bought chick starter/grower. Bag says after 6weeks, I should be, but not starter and not layer...ugh!

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