My chickens are gross.

FruitfulFaith

Chirping
7 Years
Dec 19, 2012
150
8
81
The two week old birds are losing the down on their chests and it looks like a bald, muddy, sticky mess. They also keep walking through their yogurt and getting cemented balls of dirt on their toes. They won't clean it off and then it hardens and I have to soak their feet.
Is it normal to have scroungy chickens at this age? Will they outgrow it or did I just get a bunch of non-hygienic birds?
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
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Southern Oregon
Mine have never looked like that. They do go through an awkward/gangly/half feathered phase, but I've never had them lose feathers.

Oh, except my meat birds. They're bellies were frequently bald. What kind of birds do you have?

Raise your feeder up to the level of their backs to keep thing cleaner. Just set it on some 2x4s or bricks or whatever you have around.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
10,138
15,361
726
western South Dakota
No they should not look like that, I have never had to wash a chicken's foot.

I would not be feeding yogurt, just feed chick starter and clean water until they are considerably older. Yogurt is a milk product and in the wild, birds do not eat milk. I give my older birds milk products when I clean out the fridge, but only in limited amounts..... pretty limited.

You may also need to change the bedding material more often, or give them more space. They do look awkward as their feathers grow in, but they should look clean. If the birds are looking like you describe them, it is probably the combination of feed and space. Smaller spaces need to be cleaned daily.

MrsK
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
12 Years
Mar 15, 2010
16,316
35,272
1,132
On the MN prairie.
No they should not look like that, I have never had to wash a chicken's foot.

I would not be feeding yogurt, just feed chick starter and clean water until they are considerably older. Yogurt is a milk product and in the wild, birds do not eat milk. I give my older birds milk products when I clean out the fridge, but only in limited amounts..... pretty limited.

You may also need to change the bedding material more often, or give them more space. They do look awkward as their feathers grow in, but they should look clean. If the birds are looking like you describe them, it is probably the combination of feed and space. Smaller spaces need to be cleaned daily.

MrsK
x2
 

FruitfulFaith

Chirping
7 Years
Dec 19, 2012
150
8
81
I think my brooder is too small :/ I'm thinking it is a space issue like you suggested. I can't do much about that now, but maybe if I made more perch space they would all just be running back and forth as much. In the meantime I suppose I will double time it on cleaning the brooder. I haven't kept up on it well the last week and a half because I had a rib popped out, so bending over the brooder was unbearable.
 

WoodlandWoman

Crowing
12 Years
May 8, 2007
5,717
83
283
Wisconsin
Yikes! That sounds really painful. If you need to, you can keep a container of shavings next to the brooder, with a scoop or cup in it. You can keep the brooder in better condition by sprinkling some fresh litter on top of the dirty, moist litter. I do that with my brooder and it keeps it nicer in there. It's less physical labor than a clean out. If it's still too hard on you, maybe someone else would be willing to do it, since it's so easy to do.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
4,136
581
Southern Oregon
But the thing is, if they're too crowded, they'll start picking on each other and/or get sick. You need to address your space asap. The easiest way is to use two large boxes, cut a door between them and tape them together. One box is the warm area with the heat lamp, the other box is the cool area with feed and water.
 

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