Underweight Chickens ?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Rocky Top Chick, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. Rocky Top Chick

    Rocky Top Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2009
    North Carolina
    I have a flock of 15 chickens. They are 9 months old, eat like pigs, run around and act fine. However, when I pick them up they feel skinny. I think they may be doing a little molting because they look a little rugged, not horrible, but not like they looked in the Summer. Anything I can do to fatten them up? We give them a handful of scratch every night before bed and we are able to watch them in the coop on the TV and they sleep fine. Any ideas why they seem skinny? I also let them free range a little every day and give them some sort of greens every weekend. Am I worried for nothing? Also, poop is good and normal. I have never wormed them because I asked about that a couple of weeks ago and no one thought they needed worming since they were so active and eating.

    Thanks for any help you can give.
     
  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I sometimes think mine feel & look skinny also especially in the early winter. I think it's because they are molting and have less feathers. If they appear healthy and are eating good I don't think I'd be too worried. You could check for parasites. I'll attach a link.

    Imp

    http://ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/0018.html
     
  3. Rocky Top Chick

    Rocky Top Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2009
    North Carolina
    I have checked them for lice and mites and nothing. I am getting really worried that they cannot withstand the cold temperatures, even though I am in NC [​IMG] I would appreciate any helpful hints from anyone ! Today I chopped up some kale for them, cooked them some eggs and gave them berry suet. They ate everything except the suet only because I don't think they have found it yet.
     
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Is NC that cold? Chickens can withstand very cold temps. Try feeding some catfood and/or corn/scratch to boost their calories. Eggs and suet are great as well. If you think it's temp add some heat to help them out.

    Good luck,
    Imp
     
  5. Rocky Top Chick

    Rocky Top Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2009
    North Carolina
    Not really that cold. Last week it was in the 20's but they are so skinny. They take after me and I know I get cold. [​IMG]
     
  6. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    If they feel light - especially if the whole flock universally feels kind of lighter than they did when you pick them up - then i would respectfully disagree with whoever told you to not worm them if they're eating and active. I'm not a big proponent of worming them unnecessarily, but i would not hesitate if i were convinced my chickens were losing weight.

    On the other hand, sometimes we think they're 'skinny' when they're just normal. If they're very active, then they're working off a lot of calories. Can you describe what specifically seems to feel skinny?

    Either way, i would not expect the cold to make them skinny. If they are eating well and active, then the cold is not hurting them.
     
  7. Rocky Top Chick

    Rocky Top Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2009
    North Carolina
    I can feel their breast bones. I brought one in last night and searched her high and low and nothing was amiss. Guess I will take a stool sample in next week and have it checked. If all is okay then I will just try and fatten them up. When I was in the grocery store last week I picked up a hen and could not feel the breast bone. I know, they are grown to be large, but just the same I had to test the waters. Maybe they have a high metabolism and just are thin chickens. Thanks for all the help. Maybe I worry too much [​IMG]
     
  8. ThePamperedPullet

    ThePamperedPullet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Most of our girls didn't start fattening up until they hit about a year old. You can try putting them on a higher protein feed. We give ours chick feed as a treat and hey seem to be putting on some weight now.
     
  9. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2009
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    Quote:Someone told me to use this test. Try to pinch the breast bone. If you can pinch the breast bone with a finger and a thumb (not the meat, but the bone) then you have a skinny chicken. You will be able to feel the the keel of the breast bone most of the time - especially while they're still growing. And if they have cleavage, then they're too fat. [​IMG]

    That test has helped me. I wanted fat chickens and was always concerned about feeling the keel. But i've been told it's o.k.
     
  10. chickenvirgin

    chickenvirgin Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2009
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    It depends what kind of chickens you have, meat birds ( like the one you picked up in the store) have lots of meat on them and birds that are egg layers are thin, all of their energy goes into making eggs, I have tried to fatten up my egg laying flock but they are all still thin and happy almost an egg a day and it's the middle of winter, the only one getting bigger is Roo, I think he has doubled in size!
     

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