My chickens aren't gaining any weight...

Plucky Pullet

9 Years
Aug 18, 2010
I purchased to Cochin hens not too long ago and they are very active birds. They eat well every day, take their dust baths, look bright in the eyes, and act like healthy chickens in general. My concern is their keel was sharp to begin with and they do not seem to have gained any weight even though they have access to 16% protein pullet feed all day everyday plus treats.

I don't think I should be worried about impacted crops since they are very active and have a great appetite, and no funny smell. The odd thing I did notice is when they cooped up for the night last night they had super full crops and this morning they still have a slight palpable crop however my BR does not have a palpable one even she too went to bed with a full one.
Yes the birds have access to food and water through the night.

Could it be that when I am home on my weekends they are just allowed to roam freely in the back yard all day? it is total of 5 days of free roam a week because of how my DH & my weekends are arranged.

Should I confine them for a week to make them gain weight? Or should I even be worried at all?

I have had the birds for almost 2 weeks now.
no one has any ideas
First make certain you are not being fooled by watching water starting to boil. Can you determine no weight change over period of few days? If not change, check for worminess, some birds do not grow or keep weight well when carrying high parasite load.
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The keel bone being palpable is not a problem. It's genetic and has nothing to do with whether the bird is of a healthy body condition. Some birds' keels are covered with muscle, others are not. In birds that it is not you do not want to try to cover it with fat. The keel is not a primary area of fat storage in a bird, in order to get fat storage there your birds would have to be obese. Obese birds are unhealthy and largely unproductive birds.
A sharp keel doesn't necessarily mean anything. If the keel is "pinchable," as in you can pinch the keel, bone only, with your thumb an forefinger, then you definitely have a skinny chicken, but being able to feel a sharp keel doesn't have to mean they're underweight. And as you said, they're very active. I wouldn't worry. They will fill out some as they grow older.
Their keel feels pinchable to me especially just under their crop. I should probably do the smart thing and get them on a set of scales to truly monitor their weight.

I was told they were under weight when I purchased them, not extremely underweight but enough for me to be told to keep an eye.

If its worms what do i use to de-worm them and where do I get it from? Vets don't exactly prescribe Drontal to chickens....
The pinchable keel is an incorrect measurement of body condition, just like being able to feel the keel. The prominence of the keel is genetic. In some breeds you would be hard pressed to find a bird that doesn't have a very prominent keel.
I agree that certain breeds have very prominent keels, but if you can truly pinch the bone of the keel, with no meat, the way i am talking about - and maybe not describing well enough, i have to believe that that is skinny for any breed.
So what can she do? I've got the same issue with my Barred Rock girls. They are laying, eat me out of house and home, but are thin. I've tried deworming them this week.

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