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Should I cull?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by feadeli, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. feadeli

    feadeli Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2009
    I hope I am posting this question in the right spot.

    Problem:
    Two chicks which seem to have genetic issues

    Background:
    For the first time ever, I tried my hand at incubating and hatching eggs that I bought from a lady who said they were all Orpington (blue, black, lavender, buff, and white). Besides a low hatch rate (which I will take as probably my errors since I was new at it), two of the chickens are... weird.

    Description:
    The weirdest chick has decided not to grow and is just starting to get some feathers...at six weeks. It pecks constantly at the other chicks and I have seen it eat their feathers. Other than that, it is actually pretty scrappy and doesn't get beat up on and eats and drinks with the other chicks.
    The other weird chick has grown at the same rate as the rest, but is not feathering out the same. It has bald spots and many pin feathers are just sort of hanging out as the hard part not the feathered part. Other than that, this chicken also seems normal (behaviorally)

    What I think:
    I think there is something genetically wrong with the chickens after I did some research (Temple Grandin's mentions pecking behaviors and cannibalism as genetic), but maybe it could be to problems with incubation??? I don't know if the two weird chicks are ever going to be normal so I don't want them, and I don't know how I would saddle them with someone else.

    Question: My book on chicken raising, (Storrey's Guide to Raising Chickens) says to cull unhealthy chicks. Do these two chicks seem unhealthy? Should I cull them? Does anyone have suggestions for how?
     
  2. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    Is it possible that the two are suffering from some sort of vitamin deficiency? Eating strange things (feathers) and not developing properly sound like that kind of stuff to me. However, I am in no way knowledgeable about this and am just venturing a guess. Best of luck. I'm sure someone will come along that knows something more substantial.
     
  3. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays Premium Member

    Without pictures it's hard to say if they are culls or just slow feathering. All chickens go through a dinosaur stage when they look weird. Different varieties of a breed can also feather out at different ages. If you could take pictures and post them here it would help.


    Culling is you choice of methods. Personally at that age I'd just break the neck, but everyone is different. I'm not sure they need culled though going on the info you posted.
     
  4. spiritdance

    spiritdance Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 13, 2010
    sounds like a protein deficiency. What are you feeding them? Are the others keeping them away from the food?
     
  5. feadeli

    feadeli Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2009
    Thanks for the responses.

    They are eating Purina's Start and Grow medicated feed. In the last week I have also let them be outside (in a caged area so they can peck at weeds and grass and bugs and stuff).

    The two chicks are actually not at the bottom of the pecking order in the group of five that I have. I watch them eat and drink regularly and they are not being picked on by the other chicks. I should mention that from the beginning (the hatch) the small one grew slower that the other chickens. Its size difference was noticeable in the first week... I will take pics and post shortly.
     
  6. feadeli

    feadeli Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2009
    this first picture shows the chicken (the big black one in the middle) which is normal sized but the some of the feathers are staying pin feathers and it doesn't seem to be feathering out as quickly as the others. Also, you can see the smaller chick which is still fuzzy and is nestled below the the black one.
    [​IMG]


    This image shows the little black chick next to a same age and breed chick for comparison
    [​IMG]

    These next two pics show size comparison and you can see how the chick has just barely started to feather
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
  7. Theeggboxtoo

    Theeggboxtoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2010
    Alabama
    I had a light brahma rooster that feathered in just like that, he eventually started to look normal and grew up to be a great rooster.

    [​IMG]

    A little later
    [​IMG]

    I don't have very good pics of him [​IMG]
     
  8. chicktwins

    chicktwins Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2011
    Eastern Shore
    I have a Dark Brahma that is feathering the exact same way. All of the chicks will be 6 weeks tomorrow and all are pretty much fully feathered except him (pretty sure it's a roo). I have read different places that sometimes roosters of certain breeds feather and develop slower than the pullets. I am going with this assumption on mine because other than that he has given me no reason to do anything but that. He eats and drinks and plays normally. Yesterday we moved them all out to the coop and within an hour he was starting to assert himself, chest bumping, standing very tall, etc. This morning when I "got them up" he kept doing this thing opening his mouth and stretching his neck out almost like a yawn but too often to be a yawn IMO. I think he was trying to muster a crow but nothing ever came out. [​IMG] Anyway, I think you should just let them be if they are eating and drinking and activity levels are normal, unless something else develops that leads you to think they are sick in some way. Good luck to you!!
     
  9. feadeli

    feadeli Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2009
    Well, thanks for putting my mind to rest about the chick who is feathering out slower than the rest. I appreciate your responses [​IMG]

    What about the bird that is growing slower... can you guys see that it is significantly smaller than the other birds?
     

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