Once a runt, always a runt?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ShockValue, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. ShockValue

    ShockValue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have 4 Faverolles girls. About 9 months old now. For the first 5 months or so, all of them grew at basically the same rate. But one of the girls has since quit growing (or at least, she's growing a lot slower than the others).

    She seems healthy, lays eggs (I think! It's hard to tell with 4 of the same breed), eats fine. She is the bottom of the pecking order, but I've never seen the other girls keep her away from food (they free range all daylight hours and have 2 free feed stations in the coop.) There is no bullying going on, except for the rare warning peck by the alpha bird.

    When it's treats time, I do have to work at making sure she gets her fair share. The other girls crowd around me, and she's usually pushed to the back so has a hard time getting to the goodies. I often feed 3 of them with one hand, and while they're occupied I'll feed her with my other hand.

    So I guess my question is - Will she always be smaller? Or will she eventually grow up to be a big girl like her sisters? We were planning on adding more birds to the flock in spring, and I'm half tempted to give her away or cull her to make room for stronger girls. Out of the 4, her coloring is the most "off" from the standard as well (hatchery stock.)
     
  2. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is she a pet or do you plan on breeding your hens? If she's a pet it wouldn't hurt to keep her. If her coloring and size are off you probably wouldn't want to breed her. I have a hen named Punkin who turned out no bigger than a bantam. I don't know the breed. The chicks were a gift. Her siblings are almost twice her size. I kept her because my chickens are for eggs and pets. She turned out to be a really good layer. She is also the only hen I have that has gone broody and hatched chicks. I let her brood eggs from my Black Australorps, Barred Rocks, and one of her own. The pullet that hatched from the egg that Punkin laid is now 4 months old and bigger than her Momma. Maybe I bucked the odds there. I don't know. My runt hatched and mothered those 5 chicks like a pro. She also took in 3 chicks that my friend's hen rejected so she is priceless to me. What you do with your runt should ultimately depend on what you feel is best for your flock.
     
  3. ShockValue

    ShockValue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are here for eggs first and foremost, and as pets secondary. I don't plan on breeding at this time, so there is really no immediate need to make her go away, other than we have a finite space for chickens and I would like to add more in the future to increase the number and variety of eggs we're getting.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Considering her different coloring, she's probably just a genetic anomaly....or.....was from a different cross at the hatchery.

    She my be low bird not because of her size but just 'because', low bird is not necessarily 'weaker' from a health perspective. Someone's got to be low bird, I think low birds can actually be 'tougher' because they have to put up with all that pecking/rejection and still survive just fine. And remember, pecking orders can change for no apparent reason(that we can see).

    If you're not concerned with breeding and she's healthy and productive, just keep her for now, but obviously she's on your mental 'possible cull list' and down the road she might be the first to go if you have to cull for whatever reason.
     
  5. RoosterGod123

    RoosterGod123 New Egg

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    Look at my lovely cock
     
  6. RoosterGod123

    RoosterGod123 New Egg

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    Classic hens
     
  7. pogmobum

    pogmobum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hahaha [​IMG]
     
  8. ShockValue

    ShockValue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
     

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