The runt.... Bad genes or bad habits?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by joerogrz, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. joerogrz

    joerogrz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 28, 2008
    Loretto, TN
    So I have this little fellow who is much smaller than the rest of the "chicks"... I say "Chicks" because they aren't quite grown but all of them excluding two have almost fully feathered out. Well, when I got these, McMurray sent 28. Someone screwed up and sent about half sex-links which is beside the point.

    Back on point.... One chick died the first night and I had one that was holding itself in a funny position and shivering. This is the runt. I have it standing next to one of the Australorps who is supposedly the same age.
    [​IMG]

    And again with a smaller one.
    [​IMG]

    All of these chicks are the same age. There is one that I'm pretty sure is a roo that also hasn't fully feathered out yet, but is much larger than the runt. As far as the way the runt acts, he/she is fine. As a matter of fact it jumped from a height of about 4ft and flew for about 30ft which ended up with a pretty good landing from a chick that hasn't got all of it's feathers yet. It still shivers at times, but is pretty productive and eats the same as the rest.

    I'm pretty sure there is nothing wrong with it as far as sickness goes. So is this growth stunt just bad genetics? That's the only thing I can think of unless it started smoking....
     
  2. seriousbill

    seriousbill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    joerogrz, I have chick a lot like that myself right now, a Buff Brahma Bantam pullet that's half the size of its clutchmates. I'm trying to figure out if it is a dwarf, or if it is stunted somehow. So far, I'm guessing it's genetic, unless a health problem shows up. The only way to tell, I guess, would be to breed it and see if it throws dwarf offspring?
     
  3. Year of the Rooster

    Year of the Rooster Sebright Savvy

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    Quote:How old are they? The bigger one is definitely a roo which is probably why it is bigger than your other one, that's at least one factor... Otherwise, I have no clue.
     
  4. joerogrz

    joerogrz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 28, 2008
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    They are all about 8wks right now. I don't think it's the sex of the chick though causing the size. All of my females (the ones I'm sure of) are still bigger than this one. Some even have wider bodies than some of the roos. I don't know... With the size and lack of feathers it's confusing to me.
     
  5. seriousbill

    seriousbill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey, I hear ya. It's an odd thing. I've had runts before, and I've had unthrifty chicks that obviously had something wrong with them. But when you have a little one that's hopping around like a jaybird and eating fine, and it's just way smaller than everyone else, it's a headscratcher. I suppose there are two possible explanations, though, really.

    1) It's a dwarf. Chickens have various genes for size, and some of the dwarfing genes are known and used to produce bantams. Others I don't know much about. I was hoping to get some input from the genetics wonks, but so far I've only gotten a couple of references. Here's what I already know about the genes for dwarfism--

    They are:

    dw--Recessive dwarf gene. Reduces size of males by about 43%, females by about 30%, improves immune system and feed efficiency.

    dwB--Recessive bantam gene. Reduces size of females by about 5-10%, males by 5-15%, shows a dose effect.

    dwM--McDonald dwarf. Reduces body weight by abt 13%. Reduces leg length 9%.

    (Dw+--Wild type, no dwarfing gene.)


    The other possibility is:

    2) It's stunted. There's a health problem that we can't see that is causing the chick to be abnormally small. It may show up more aggressively later on, and the chick will begin to fail.

    Your chick and mine differ in that mine feathered in at a normal rate.

    [​IMG]
     

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