Skinny Polish cockeral, not doing well in the cold weather.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by zookeeper02, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. zookeeper02

    zookeeper02 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2012
    Caldwell, ID
    So I have a Polish cockeral, Russell, who I found weak and still inside the coop this morning after the rest of the bunch came out. He's not quite four months old, and has been going through a growth spurt and a molt. He is underweight, he looks like he should weigh a lot more than he does. His keel bone is very pronounced, I just don't feel much "meat" on him. He's been able to eat outside with the other birds, they aren't bullying him away from food or water. None of my other chickens are showing any sign of feeling poorly. The temp last night got down to 12 degrees, and it's supposed to be single digits the next couple of nights.


    I have him in the house now, in a plastic tote with pine shavings and bowls of food and water. He has been eating and drinking, did a little bit of preening, but mostly he's been sleeping. He'll stand for a short time, then his head just droops and he lays down. His breathing seems heavy, but steady, and he's not gasping. He is alert, he pops his head up when we walk past him. I scrambled an egg for him, I'll offer it to him after he rests a bit. I think what's going on is his body can't handle the growth, molting, and trying to stay warm all at the same time. It just seems like he's utterly exhausted. Other than bringing him in where it's warmer, offering extra food and rest, is there anything else I can do? Any particular miracle food or goodie that might help?
     
  2. zookeeper02

    zookeeper02 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2012
    Caldwell, ID
    I never got a reply, but I got a couple dozen 'looks'. I pulled Russell inside (in the kitchen, in a very large dog crate, next to the sliding glass door so he could see the other chickens, and had some "out" time on the vinyl floor every day for some exercise) for a few weeks, until the weather "warmed up" into the 20s(F) at night.
    I feed him, as well as the rest of the flock, Nutrena Country Feed All Flock, 18% protein, pellet form, with oyster shell free choice. The few eggs I got during the winter were fine, just not numerous, which is to be expected. I don't mind giving my small flock a break since I don't add heat or light in the winter. Once his weight picked back up, and he mostly finished feathering out, I let him outside during the day at first, then after several days and weather permitting, he went back out full time.
    He is healthy and beautiful now, and 'Hurricane Testorone' has hit at just under 7 months of age, but he is still respectful of people and very nice to the hens. I guess the point of the story might be, please think of what care it may take to rear one of those cute chicks you hatch out in early fall in an area that has a real winter, because although he had good housing, good flock mates that don't bully him, and good food, it still took extra care on his human's part to make sure he made it through.
     
  3. brezlynsmom

    brezlynsmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 26, 2010
    Eastern Iowa
    Glad you got him healthy. It just takes the few extra steps sometimes and we can do wonders for a chicken
     

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