Keep Runt as a pet?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Larkin, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. Larkin

    Larkin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northern Wisconsin
    Last weekend, we processed all the cockerels and now plan on butchering the pullets this weekend. My problem is that one of the pullets is significiantly smaller than the rest. She can't even get into the coop at night, I have to lift her up and she patiently waits for the boost! She eats and drinks and acts like a normal chicken except she still cheeps at age 11 weeks instead of squawking like the rest of the vultures. Oh yeah, she waddles like a duck, her legs seem shorter than they should too.My question is...can we just keep her as a pet? My kids are quite attatched to her and she is hardly worth butchering at this point. Can she avoid the heart attack problems these birds can sometimes develop because she is so much smaller? I told the kids that if we keep her, she's probably going to die anyway.
     
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    Sure. if you like her, keep her as a pet. Make sure she gets lots of exercise and limit her food just a little bit. Maybe what she will clean up in a couple of minutes and give it to her 3 times a day. Then make her go out and collect whatever else she wants. Exercise will keep her healthy. Don't let her get fat and she will stay healthy.

    If the rest of the birds are Cornish X, and she is so different, it is very possible that she is a different breed and got packed by mistake.
     
  3. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    Well, what can it hurt?? Your kids will love you for it and, like you said, butchering her is really hardly worth it. Yes, I think you need to explain to them that she will probably die before she turns a year because her heart can't keep up with her growth but they can make her life as happy as possible until that happens. I say go for it!!!
     
  4. Larkin

    Larkin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would like it if she would be a different breed but there are signs- she is just a "special" bird. Like I mentioned, she still cheeps, she waddles way different than any of the other birds and she can't seem to jump or fly up to the coop, not even when it's treat time for the layers. Usually these meaties are relentless with food but she just can't get up the small step into the coop! I think there is something "wrong" with her and hopefully if I limit her eating and encourage her excercise, she'll lead a long happy life with us and the rest of the flock.
     
  5. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    Sounds like you've made your decision! I'm glad! [​IMG]
     
  6. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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    Yes, you can keep her as a pet. Just make sure that she doesn't over eat and that she free ranges and gets plenty of exercise. It can be done.
     
  7. Larkin

    Larkin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, "Lumpy" the pet meat bird is doing just fine. Now our worry is winter. Lumpy cannot fly, she can only waddle like a duck. She still, at 15 weeks, needs help at night to get into the coop. A few of the other layers are grumpy with her and will chase her down and pull at her feathers. I feel guilty that she doesn't have a friend to snuggle with at night. While the other birds perch up on the roost at night, Lumpy nests on the floor of the coop:(
    What to do with poor lumpy.
     
  8. WishboneDawn

    WishboneDawn Out Of The Brooder

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    I'd love to see a pic.[​IMG]
     
  9. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm... I confess to having mixed feelings as I read this thread. I understand the attachment to your little underdog (underchicken?), but I can't help but feel that there is something a little--dare I say it?--"unkind" about keeping a chicken that obviously has some physical problems, (maybe even discomfort?). Cornish X aren't really meant to survive to live a long and healthy life--heart trouble, bone problems, poor physical condition generally, all contribute to make life stressful for them, more so generally the older they get. Add to that the fact she's being picked on by the other birds, who obviously know that she is weak, and that's what they do...

    And especially since no one else has expressed this opinion yet, I'm going to be the devil's advocate here, stick my neck out, and suggest that you consider the idea of culling her and letting her move on "to a better place". I know these kinds of decisions are never easy, but based on your descriptions, that's the choice I would probably make if it were my decision... [​IMG] Anyway, good luck! [​IMG]
     
  10. Larkin

    Larkin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here she is:ya

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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