Meat chicks with distended bellies and poor feathering


May 17, 2017
Hey all,
Would appreciate your thoughts. I'm not even sure my chicks have a problem or not.

I have about 100 White cross X heavy meat chicks, 3 weeks old. The whole flock has these 'symptoms':

- distended/protruding belly below the anus. It's like their stomach is pushed way out behind.
- their feathers are coming in very uneven. Wings etc fully feathered but backs and stomachs, bare skin.

Lack of symptoms:
- eating voraciously, no lack of appetite
- lots of energy
- they're pooping just fine - firm, no diarrhea or anything funny that I've noticed.

I'm prepared to believe that there's actually nothing wrong with them given they seem healthy otherwise, and it's the whole flock exhibiting these things. Are they just ugly and growing into it? (just seems odd, I don't recall my birds the last two years looking like this).
That sounds like par for the course with meat birds, at least with Cornish x. They live to eat and quickly outgrow their organs. If they aren't "processed," early enough they will either die of a stroke/heart attack or their legs give out.
If you want to extend their expiration date, you need to get them exercising, like free ranging, and some folks just leave them feed 12 hours a day, and 12 without.

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