Skinny Chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Toddrick, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. Toddrick

    Toddrick Songster

    Sep 28, 2014
    I read somewhere that when you pickup your chickens, you should not feel the breast bone too much, but instead feel their meaty breasts. Not so with my chickens, I can distinctly feel their breast bone without trying. (I have never held any other chickens, and I'm new to this). I recently lost two chickens, so I'm now concerned the other two are also unhealthy. Please tell me how I can improve if there is a problem.

    I keep a mix of about 50% organic grain, and crumbles in their food dispenser at all times. I let them free range for about three hours a day in the evening. We treat them with bread, and toss in leftover veggies and fruits sporadically. As for water, it comes from a rain barrel, which I throw a tiny tablet of chlorine in about once a month to keep the algae out.

    Does the brand of crumbles/pellets matter? They used to be on Purina, but I switched to a cheaper kind, but it is supposed to have all the stuff birds need.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    Have they ever been dewormed? If not that's where I'd start.
  3. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    You may also want to cut out a lot of the treats, which would also include the grain.
  4. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Songster

    Jun 10, 2014
    Which breed are we talking about here? And how old?

    You're going to feel a lot more breastbone on a Modern Game than on a Delaware.
  5. Toddrick

    Toddrick Songster

    Sep 28, 2014
    They are both RIR's now. One Rooster and one Hen, each a year and a half old. I "inherited" them when I bought my house about six months ago. I don't think they've ever been wormed.

    I am going to get brand name pellets instead of crumbles and use less grain. I've also ordered some wormer.
  6. suellen123

    suellen123 In the Brooder

    I like to feed my chickens something besides egg layer every day. I feed them oatmeal and bananas as a favorite treat. They love watermelon and other fruits. I also make them corn bread once in a while. I don't like feeding them much corn because of GMO's. I feel them wheat noodles with frozen mixed vegetables too. My neighbors share leftovers with me and they also like Spanish rice and white rice and lots of other things. Just remember never feed birds avocados.
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I can always feel my bird's breastbones. They're not meaty cornish crosses like grocery store chickens. They're active, healthy and productive, so IMO they're perfect.

    I always advise folks worried about their birds condition to actually weigh them.
  8. suellen123

    suellen123 In the Brooder

    very true. Mine are not meaty either. They run around all day long. They are healthy. We had one bout with mites but we soaked their feet in olive oil and then put Vaseline on them and no more problems. Mine do love the treats though and I feel like Oatmeal is great for them.
  9. Toddrick

    Toddrick Songster

    Sep 28, 2014
    Well I've
    I agree with your sentiment. Mine may be the same weight as when I got them, and healthy active birds too. But I have never weighed them, or even picked them up before now (they are very afraid of people, and Mr. Rooster makes things worse with his aggressiveness). I'll try to get better at handling them, and get them weighed regularly--if I can tame them somewhat. These chickens are highly independent!

    The reason I'm assuming the worst and taking every precaution is because I've lost two birds recently, and I don't want to feel like I didn't do everything I could. I put Amoxicillan, Wazine, and Bird Electrolytes in their water, replaced their food with (non-medicated) probiotic enhanced pellets, and sprung big money ($5) for the mealie worm treats. OMG do they love those worms! The worms may be the key to taming them...
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2014
  10. suellen123

    suellen123 In the Brooder

    My chickens kind of stop and bow and let me pet them and pick them up. They know I am the kibble dispenser so they are very friendly with me.

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