skinny chicken, should I worm?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by geeber, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. geeber

    geeber Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2009
    Our little BO, Esther, looks & feels really thin. Her breast bone feels pointy & like there is no 'breast meat' on her chest. Her little wings tuck in very tight to her body giving her the look of having a 'waist'. Is this normal? She is 7-8 months old & is our best layer. I feed about 2 cups of layer crumble a day for our 3 girls (all 7-8 months). They free range at the very least for an hour a day right before sundown. Treats & table scraps 2-3 times a week.

    Are they fat enough? Should I worm them? I would like to keep the girls living as chemical free and medicine free as possible. Thank you.
  2. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    when was the last time you wormed them?
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    If you aren't seeing signs of worms then I wouldn't worm them. You can generally bring a stool sample in to any vet's office to have it checked for worms. Sometimes worms aren't visible to the naked eye.

    At 8 months old chickens tend to look a bit gangly. They haven't filled out as much as they will eventually, and with the added stress of laying they tend to look a bit thin their first year. With the onset of cold weather a little more food might be in order, and the addition of some cracked corn will help to build up a nice fat layer. If you add more food to their diet and still don't see any weight gain then I would consider having them checked for worms.

    Good luck.
  4. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    What do they eat after they have eaten the daily 2 cups? If they are out of food during the day, you should put in a larger container so they can free feed. When they are out free ranging, if they have adequate grass and bugs, they will eat alot less of the crumble- but during the time they are confined, you need to let them eat as much of the crumble as they want. Egg laying is hard work- they need the nutrition.
  5. mkearsley

    mkearsley Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2010
    South-west Idaho
    I've got a skinny Polish hen (about 1 yr old now). Are they supposed to be slender? She's not nearly as skinny as the original poster's hen, but her breast-bone is also sharp, with not much meat on it. They've been free-range, and were given free choice layer feed, and now that there's 8" of snow on the ground I keep a full 1 quart self-feeder in the coop for all three birds (with 20% protein layer crumbles). I've been adding a handful of dry dog food to their cage - letting them hunt for it & just started feeding them a mixture of canned corn & canned dog food. The other two look fine, but they're also different breeds.
  6. geeber

    geeber Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2009
    Quote:I've never wormed them. But will start looking at the poop much more closely. Just trying to keep the girls as 'natural' as possible.
  7. aliprowl

    aliprowl Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2008
    Northern Westchester
    Definitely more food - they eat a lot when they are young, and especially need more nutrition as winter sets in. Could just be gangly teenagers, but err on the side of caution and give them as much food as they'll eat, without limits. If you use a chicken feeder (hanging or on a cinderblock) then you fill it up and forget it for a few weeks or however long it takes them to eat it down. You could also try corn & black oil sunflower seeds - that seems to help pack on some weight. Mealworms are also good - high in protein.
  8. BlacksheepCardigans

    BlacksheepCardigans Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2010
    Southeast NH
    I don't know if you need another "food" response, but just in case you think that well, maybe it's not the food, IT'S THE FOOD. I would guess they've finished that little bowl by midway through the day, right? They need food available 24/7 unless you've got them on super high-test animal protein - which is not what layer feed is. If you are restricting them because of wastage, try switching to a pellet, but whatever you choose make sure they've got it available constantly.
  9. aliprowl

    aliprowl Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2008
    Northern Westchester
    Yep. Guarantee you that they are hungry, and not just the thin one.
  10. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:They can need worming badly without any sign in the poop being visible to you. Some have the vet check a stool sample, others worm routinely, once or twice a year.

    But in your case, I most definitely agree, first order of business is to increase their feed. Maybe consider a worming program in a few months.

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