skinny young chicks - normal or do I need help?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by black star homesteader, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. black star homesteader

    black star homesteader Hatching

    Dec 1, 2010
    I have 8; 20 1/2 week old birds; 5 black stars and 3 EE. One gave me the love-squat yesterday so I'm hoping for eggs soon from the black stars; I realize the EEs are heritage birds and may not lay well till spring - especially since they're lower in the pecking order. Since the loving bird yesterday let me pick her up; I had a good feel of her and she felt REALLY skinny; prominant keel. I got these birds from someone raising a large flock of youngsters for sale -- in a large outdooor enclosure with two small houses. He had several feeders out there with the Nature's whatever organic brand; the kind that looks like ground pet food. I feel like he had enough food out for them; but maybe the sheer number in the large yard may have kept them thin. Here; they ate 20 lbs the first week - what the grower estimated they would - but they've eaten progressively less of the 18% organic layer 'powder' -- not pelleted. It is always full. I have been giving them 1-2 cups of BOSS and other treats; like bread (a favorite), whey, squash, pumpkin, organic scratch, sweet potato, some scrambled eggs, veggie scraps, hot mash or oats on cold mornings etc. They have about 200 sq ft to run around in. I wonder if I"m treating the up too much, perhaps I should add some cat food or other source of protein. Or maybe birds this young haven't filled out yet? They are very active and seem healthy.

    I recently started bringing the food and water out into the yard during the day - since they spend most of their time there and I think that's how they were used to eating. Let me know if there is a better way to feed them or put weight on them so we get eggs as soon as possible. I have them under 60 watts; 15 hr aI day; mostly increasing the night tie light; 5:30-8 a, and 3:30-10ish pm. "m berating myself beause I could have bought 27 week old birds for a lot more money - but that guy first told me he was sold out - so I went with the 17 week old birds. More info: they've got a 32 sq ft. 'open' coop (large window at least windy side) - and it's been mild (lows below freezing yes - but generally in or above 40 during the day - except for the week we got them; lows below 10 and not above 30 on some days. Took them a week to really come out of their coop and appreciate their yard. They can and do still fly up on top of the coop: 4 ft high. It's completely enclosed (lion and bear 'proof'). Any advice would be helpful for this newbie.

    how do you post pictures here?
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2010

  2. LuckyDozen Farm

    LuckyDozen Farm In the Brooder

    Nov 29, 2010
    South Texas
    I found that as the birds get bigger, they tend to prefer bigger pelleted food. You have to be sure that the grower ration has at least 20% protein. I use Purina Flock-Raiser. I know its not organic, but it is purely vegetarian. Try this ...throw out some scratch and see if they go crazy for it..Corn is a fatter food for them and during the winter months its actually good to have a little more fat this time of year. Dont over do it...start with a handful and see what they do...if they attack it, then you need to maybe focus on what food you are feeding them. My Black Stars at 20.5 weeks avg out to about 4 pounds. My Black-Star records show that I am getting .71 eggs per day/per hen (5 eggs a week roughly) at 25 weeks. Most birds should be laying small pullet eggs at 21 weeks..I have over 200 Black Stars, they are great chickens. Some people switch to a layer ration as soon as they see eggs, but we found that its best to wait until 30 weeks for laying rations. The chickens are still growing and putting on weight up until 30 weeks. Protein is the absolute key to feeding chickens. You have to make sure they are getting what they need. Black Stars are hybrid sex-links, and they are pretty heavy feeders until about 30 weeks..PS cat food is for cats...only feed that if you have nothing else...good luck...

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