Stunted by Starvation and Dehydration?

LotsA Cluckin

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jul 26, 2014
71
8
38
Walling, TN
Thank you for viewing my post...a local friend of mine acquired a flock of 10 chickens today. They were hatched in mid July the seller says, which would put that at about 5 months old, but are the size of 2 month old chickens. They are NOT bantams they are LF Orpingtons. I raise LF Orpingtons and mine at 5 months of age are usually around 8 lbs. hers are 2-3 lbs. They are extremely skinny, their breast bone as no meat on it and you can even feel their hip bones, their skin stays in place when you pull it up which I think would mean they are dehydrated.

She has started them on probiotics in the water and is giving them flock raiser as their main feed then a treat that is equally mixed with Whole Corn, Rolled Oats, Calf-Manna and BOSS.

My question is will they get to full size eventually or will they always be on the smaller side due to being starved of food and water? What can we do to get mass on them quickly?

Thanks so much for any help you can give us!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Grateful
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
45,528
79,418
1,462
Wisconsin
I would think they are young enough to catch up at least somewhat. Orpingtons mature slower and do continue to grow for up to two years. It sounds like they are receiving a good diet now, just give them time, hopefully there was no damage done.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,952
11,350
636
western South Dakota
I would be cautious on too rich of a diet all at once. They have been moved, new surroundings, new water, new food, that is a lot of change for chickens, and chickens hate change. Plenty of fresh water, and I would just feed commercial chicken feed, until they start to pick up. Keep it plain until you see how they do.

I would think that some of the information is wrong, either with the breed or with the hatch date. Someone who starves their chickens are not going to blush at telling a lie. But I am thinking that they are genetically a smaller breed. While a poor diet will affect physical activity, feather quality and overall weight, it is not going to have a shrinking effect on size. They may be a tad smaller than a bird well fed all along the life of the bird, but it is not going to be the size difference that you are describing. A starvation diet tends to kill off chicks, not make them smaller in statue.

So yes, I think these birds are going to stay a bantam size. I would be worried that they might become sick in a new environment, just from being in a weakened state and a new environment with it's own strange germs present. Watch them carefully. I would not expect them to be laying, unless they are or were under lights. I had two sets of chicks hatch at the beginning and third week of July, and the day length has kept them from laying. At my latitude I expect them to start laying about the 3rd week of January.

Good Luck,
Mrs K
 

LotsA Cluckin

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jul 26, 2014
71
8
38
Walling, TN
I would think they are young enough to catch up at least somewhat. Orpingtons mature slower and do continue to grow for up to two years. It sounds like they are receiving a good diet now, just give them time, hopefully there was no damage done.
I sure hope so...Thankfully I have never had to deal with something like that because I hatch and raise all my babies that I am breeding with but she wanted some Orps of her own and I did not have any to sell and those skin and bone babies is what she got :(

It is so sad to see them that skinny!
 

LotsA Cluckin

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jul 26, 2014
71
8
38
Walling, TN
I would be cautious on too rich of a diet all at once. They have been moved, new surroundings, new water, new food, that is a lot of change for chickens, and chickens hate change. Plenty of fresh water, and I would just feed commercial chicken feed, until they start to pick up. Keep it plain until you see how they do.

I would think that some of the information is wrong, either with the breed or with the hatch date. Someone who starves their chickens are not going to blush at telling a lie. But I am thinking that they are genetically a smaller breed. While a poor diet will affect physical activity, feather quality and overall weight, it is not going to have a shrinking effect on size. They may be a tad smaller than a bird well fed all along the life of the bird, but it is not going to be the size difference that you are describing. A starvation diet tends to kill off chicks, not make them smaller in statue.

So yes, I think these birds are going to stay a bantam size. I would be worried that they might become sick in a new environment, just from being in a weakened state and a new environment with it's own strange germs present. Watch them carefully. I would not expect them to be laying, unless they are or were under lights. I had two sets of chicks hatch at the beginning and third week of July, and the day length has kept them from laying. At my latitude I expect them to start laying about the 3rd week of January.

Good Luck,
Mrs K


Thanks for the response....Unfortunately the seller that I speak of, I sold some breeding birds to and the chicks my friend got came from those breeding birds so I know what size they SHOULD BE, they are not just genetically smaller they just simply haven't been growing at the rate they should which I believe is due to obvious starvation.
 

cree57i

Songster
5 Years
Mar 1, 2014
1,279
513
232
Mt. Juliet, TN
I am curious about something I have heard conflicting information about. If you hatch a pullet egg and the chick is small because the egg is small, will it ever catch up and get full size? I have been told it will and I have been told it won't. Does anyone here have expertise with that?
 

LotsA Cluckin

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jul 26, 2014
71
8
38
Walling, TN
I am curious about something I have heard conflicting information about. If you hatch a pullet egg and the chick is small because the egg is small, will it ever catch up and get full size? I have been told it will and I have been told it won't. Does anyone here have expertise with that?
They do hatch smaller not sure if they ever catch up though
 

LotsA Cluckin

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jul 26, 2014
71
8
38
Walling, TN
Makes me wonder if that could be part of the problem with these chicks. It does sound like inadequate protein though. Thanks LotsA Cluckin!
They could have been from pullet eggs but still that does not explain why they are skin and bones, neither does the lack of protein....these poor chicks were starved
 

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