Runt keet... nearly 3 weeks old, looks only a few days old.

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by bucket04, May 2, 2011.

  1. bucket04

    bucket04 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2011
    Falcon, Colorado
    My keets are almost 3 weeks old. Ten of them look their age. One of them looks about a week younger (but was born and shipped at the same time) he had a runt start and then last week started growing again. He is closing the gap in size and feather growth and is now about 1/2 their size.

    The last one looks like he/she is only a few days old. About 1/4 the size of the rest, and his feathers are coming in slowly as well. Other than his size, he seems healthy. Sleeps a little more than the others, and can't easily flip back onto his feet when the others barrel over him. He seems to eat okay, (he gets bullied away from the food if all the others decide they are hungry when he gets up to eat) but he usually tries to hold his own. When they push him out of the way, he gets under or to the side of them and is able to get a few more bites a time or two, and then gives up... he will end up by himself out of the way while the others finish eating. I have seen him eating at the feeder by himself quite a few times, so I think he's getting the amount of food he wants, even if it's not the amount he needs. He's drinking fine, pooping fine.

    Background if it helps....
    I had lost 20 out of 32 over the course of the first six days and the 12 survivors were on antibiotics for eight days.

    They had vitamins in the water from days 3-6, antibiotics in their water from day 7-15 I went back to vitamins for a day or so, and now they are on straight water. The brooder is in my house, they have good temps in the box, they lay where ever they want and they don't pile up to get warm or anything.

    They were on gamebird starter (24%) until 3 days ago when I started mixing turkey starter into their feed at higher and higher ratios until today... they are now on straight turkey starter. (26%)


    I am emotionally ready for him to not make it at some point if he doesn't start growing, but am wondering if anyone has ever had such a size difference in a runt before and had that runt live into adulthood?
     
  2. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Big Oak Valley, CA
    I have had a runt or 2 go thru what you described, they eventually caught up, or at least most of the way. Both times they ended up low birds in the pecking order tho and so I removed them from the flock they were hatched with and put them with younger birds. They got along fine with their surrogate flocks.

    If you want to give him a better chance this is what I'd do for him/her:
    I'd provide an extra feeder if he/she is always having to fight for a spot and not eating as much as needed, the higher protein should help him/her grow but only if he/she gets to eat! I'd also pick up some poultry vitamins for their water, it won't hurt the other's that don't need it. A dose or 2 of probiotics for him/her might be beneficial too.

    Good luck with him/her. You may always have to baby this bird, as the rest of the flock may see him/her as the flock's weak link.
     
  3. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Personally, I would remove it from the gene pool. Obviously it is weaker, meaning that it's offspring probably would be as well. You don't want to have weak birds in your flock.
     
  4. bucket04

    bucket04 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2011
    Falcon, Colorado
    Shelley, if you mean remove it from the gene pool by not breeding it, I agree. If it's a male and gets large enough, I may just butcher him to see how guineas taste since I was hoping to raise some for that purpose anyway. If it's a female, I could keep her for eggs to eat and not incubate them. (Or butcher her to eat) There are options here other than killing it this young and waste being able to utilize it for any purpose. If it gets picked on a lot and starts to suffer, that's a different story.

    I was mostly just curious if anyone had seen this particular problem before, and if the keet ever grew up to be a regular size or anything.

    Thanks Peeps... seems maybe it will grow up if given enough time and care. [​IMG]
     
  5. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Big Oak Valley, CA
    You're welcome bucket [​IMG]
    I don't usually cull my runts (put them down) either unless they are in pain or are going to have to face life living in pain (or unless it's obvious it has a heart problem or some other unfix-able genetic condition), but I do keep them from reproducing in my breeding flocks. They can still eat ticks, they can still lay eggs and they can still make a nice Sunday dinner for 2 [​IMG] It all narrows down to how much extra attention and care you are willing to provide for the bird.
    Good luck with your runt [​IMG]
     

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