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Thin Chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by beachchickie, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. beachchickie

    beachchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 6, 2009
    Alabama
    My girls are very healthy acting and looking. They have lots of energy but I can feel their breast bone. They are 11 mos and 5 mos. 2 different batches. Both lay well. They have access to all the food they want and they free range. I can not tell how much they weigh maybe 3 lbs? Maybe not. Yes I have wormed them.
     
  2. meriruka

    meriruka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    Sounds like they get plenty of exercise, so that'll keep them thin.
    Also some breeds are thinner than others. Sounds like you have it covered...as long as they have layer feed & show no illness, are laying fine & energetic, they are most likely ok.
     
  3. newchicksnducks

    newchicksnducks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Free range is great...they really love to eat grass, weeds, etc. You say they have access to feed...What kind? Different quality of feed can give different caloric intake. Make sure it's a high quality layer feed. If you really think they are thin, maybe add a higher protein feed into the layer feed.
     
  4. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Olympia, WA
    What breeds do you have? What is normal for a leghorn could be signs of a problem in an Australorp. If your hens are light-bodied I wouldn't worry too much about it. If they are one of the heavier breeds, or if you just want to be extra safe have a fecal float done to rule out worms and give them a good going over to check for mites and/or lice. Parasites are the most likely culprits when an otherwise healthy looking bird starts getting thin.

    ETA: I know you already wormed them, but sometimes it doesn't get them all or the wormer used isn't good for the worms they have....Anyhow, I'm not suggesting re-worming just because, but I am a big fan of fecal floats as a way to know exactly what you're dealing with.

    Sure hope you get it figured out so you don't have to worry anymore. Sounds like your chooks have it pretty darn good.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  5. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:Most layers don't have much meat on them, even the dual-purpose breeds. You should be able to feel the breast bone, they don't have breast meat like a meat bird.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. DianeB

    DianeB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2009
    I can also feel my chicken's breastbone. They run around by backyard. All are very healthy, active and have no problem laying. The only way I understand they can gain weight is through confinement not a change in feed. I also do not consider a slim, not starving, chicken a problem. Human and animal population and laboratory studies have shown that the slimest individuals live the longest and have the least health problems. As long as all their nutritional needs are met, the chickens should be fine.

    I am leary about giving my chickens more protein or fat than they need. Extra protein does not lead to more weight gain or muscle gain for that matter. (Only stress to muscles cells during excercise casuses muscle mass to expand.) It has the same amount of calories per weight as carbohydrates. Animals have a set amount, not percentage, they need each day to build muscle and repair tissue. Once this need is met, the nitrogen is stripped from extra amino acids and used as fuel. Fat does have more calories per gram. However, I would be leary of adding more to their diet to gain weight. Too much fat causes liver problems. It also has been shown to increase cancer risk in rats, mice and humans. Excess intake of certain amino acids, in particular methionine, have also been shown to increase cell aging in rodents, flies and primates. Since the aging process of animal cells are fairly similar, excess protein should also be avoided. Complex carbohydrates are pretty benign and the preferred fuel choice for most animals. However, they are preferred because they are easily broken down into energy. Most of it is lost to heat through exercise or to keep warm. So, more carbohydrates may not be that helpful.

    Sorry for such a long reply. Hope it is healpful.

    edited for typos
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  7. beachchickie

    beachchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 6, 2009
    Alabama
    Thanks for all the replies. I have RIR and EE. They do not have mites. They are eating layer pellets by Purina but they mostly dig up bugs and worms and eat grass. Of course they get yogurt and peanut butter everyday as well. And if that isn't good for them you tell em, I won't be around for that. It gets ugly when the yogurt doesn't come on time.
     
  8. DianeB

    DianeB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not saying to never give them yogurt, peanut butter, etc. My hens dig up worms and get an occasional treat of yogurt or something with high fat or protein about once every week or two. Purposely giving them extra fat/protein to fatten them up will cause serious health problems down the road. Most vets will tell you the samething . I've also noticed that when it is stormy during the winter they gain weight. All the can do is stay inside and eat. When it is sunny and warm for a few weeks, all the weight comes off. It is much like children. Those that play outdoors are thin and healthy. Those that stay inside playing videogames and watching TV are overweight and sickly.
     
  9. Renee

    Renee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2008
    CALIFORNIA
    My Columbian Wyandotte has a prominent breastbone, but my Silver-Laced does not. I think it can just be an individual characteristic- not a sign of undernourishment.
     
  10. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I can see by your signature the breeds you have and it took my reds forever to gainn weight they just started to and they were hatched in May
     

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