Looking for advice on a little runt chicken

mccmeadows

Chirping
Jul 19, 2021
55
79
61
Oil Springs, ON
So, we have this little runt. Her name is Little Birdie, I think she is precious and she has us wrapped around her tiny toes.

Everyone from her hatch seems to be growing normal. There are a few size variations, but that would just be explained by the fact that they’re different mixed breeds (Ameraucana, Maran, Cream Legbar, Barred Rock, Olive and Easter Eggers). She eats and drinks normal and has no problem getting to the feeder (will just walk over or under others to get there if need be). No sign of worms in anybody, we keep a clean coop, they eat 17% grower with the odd garden scrap, fresh water twice a day, etc. Despite all that, she is at least half the size of the next smallest pullet and just doesn’t seem to grow at the same speed as everyone else. I’d say she’s the size her hatchmates were at 8-ish weeks and they’re around 16 weeks now. In the following photos you can see that she’s always been the smallest.

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I don’t know if separating her will do her good or harm. We have 5 spring (March/April) hatch hens (4 Blue Andalusians and a Partridge Wyandotte) that we would like to integrate with the pullets from this hatch. I don’t know if I should go ahead with the integration with Birdie in there or maybe just winterize the coop the 5 are in and leave them separate and give her more time to grow. I’m ready to turn her into a house chicken at this point cause I’m constantly worried about her..

Any advice/input would be greatly appreciated. She has none of the characteristics described in the article about Thyrogenous Dwarfism I read on here (aside from the slow growth), so hoping it’s not that. The breeder doesn’t have bantams, but is it possible for regular sized hens to carry the bantam gene?
 

HollowOfWisps

Previously AstroDuck
Premium Feather Member
Aug 28, 2020
1,352
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Iowa
Was she an assisted hatch by any chance? It's been awhile since I've hatches chicks, but back on the old farm any assisted hatched chicks we noticed a slower growth rate compared to those who had hatched on their own. Once they reached maturity there wasn't any difference and I've noticed the same issue with assisted hatched ducklings as well. Not other differences we noticed besides the slow growth rate.
 
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6BeachChicks

Enjoying Chicken Math
Premium Feather Member
Aug 30, 2021
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What would signs of this be?
Im not an expert, but sometimes chickens are born a runt, and so their organs are a bit small for them for the best of my understanding.
There is a thread about this. Hang on…
 

6BeachChicks

Enjoying Chicken Math
Premium Feather Member
Aug 30, 2021
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I’m not saying that will happen to your chick, just was wondering about the chick to flockmate size ratio and remembered this.
 

mccmeadows

Chirping
Jul 19, 2021
55
79
61
Oil Springs, ON
I’m not saying that will happen to your chick, just was wondering about the chick to flockmate size ratio and remembered this.
Definitely a worst case scenario but I hadn’t found that article or the emergency one posted in that thread and they both had good info in them, so thanks! She’s about 16 weeks at this point, but I will continue to keep a close eye on any body or behaviour changes.
 

mccmeadows

Chirping
Jul 19, 2021
55
79
61
Oil Springs, ON
Was she an assisted hatch by any chance? It's been awhile since I've hatches chicks, but back on the old farm any assisted hatched chicks we noticed a slower growth rate compared to those who had hatched on their own. Once they reached maturity there wasn't any difference and I've noticed the same issue with assisted hatched ducklings as well. Not other differences we noticed besides the slow growth rate.
Thanks for the info! Glad to hear that once they reach adulthood all is well. Hopefully that ends up being the case with Birdie.
 

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