Underweight Silkie?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Celtic Hill, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. Celtic Hill

    Celtic Hill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2010
    Scotland CT
    I just bought a new silkie and when i hold her, her keel is really prominent and "sharp". Is that normal or do i need to work on her diet? She is full grown so maybe she is just going into moult or just came out of it?
     
  2. Three Cedars Silkies

    Three Cedars Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    5,033
    48
    283
    Apr 17, 2008
    Gainesville, Fl.
    It's pretty normal for silkies to be a bit light. It really depends on their genetics, but you can fatten her up a little by adding some supplements to her feed. We add calf manna, shelled nut mixture (Tractor Supply, wild bird section), BOSS and Manna Pro show conditioner. Mix all 4 up together and add a couple of handfuls to their feed for the day.

    We were able to put 8-10 ounces each on our 4-5 month old pullets within 6 weeks as we were getting them ready for a show. Very happy with the way they look and feel now!
     
  3. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies

    12,151
    25
    311
    Jul 5, 2007
    Sevier County, TN
    I have a silkie like that. No matter how much manna pro and such I hand feed, the keel is still really sharp. But Spikely seems happy and is active, so I'm trying not to stress over it too much.

    I do make sure to side-feed a little extra away from the flock to be sure Spikely gets the supplements. So now Spikely follows me around like a puppy when I'm in the yard or cleaning pens. It would be cute if I didn't almost trip over the cute ball of fluff.... repeatedly.
     
  4. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

    576
    7
    141
    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    hmmm I'm no expert but I've always thought a spikey keel is a sign of an underweight bird. I'd give some scrambled eggs every day or other high protein snack for a while in addition to regular feed. I have a very light weight (feather weight! ha ha) polish who seems to weigh nothing compared to my big girls, but she has a good amount of muscle around her keel bone. Since your girl is new you might want to take a poo sample to a vet for a worm check, or perhaps worm her just in case.
     
  5. Three Cedars Silkies

    Three Cedars Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    5,033
    48
    283
    Apr 17, 2008
    Gainesville, Fl.
    Yes, I meant to mention worming. Easiest done with ivomec (oil based) 2 drops on the skin between their shoulders. Worms them and kills lice and mites.
     
  6. SilkieTime

    SilkieTime Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2009
    Joelton Tn.
    How old is she?
     
  7. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

    4,203
    74
    253
    Apr 19, 2009
    Feeling the keel is not an indication of an underweight chicken. The prominence of the keel is genetic, in a chicken where it is prominent genetically no amount of food will change that. The chicken does not naturally store a significant amount of fat in that area and the amount of meat they grow there is, again, genetic. You cannot force them to produce more breast meat with food -- not significantly enough to overcome genetics, anyway. That's why Cornish X are bred because they have the genetic predisposition to produce ample breast meat. If we could force that on any chicken with any genetics dual purpose meat flocks wouldn't be such a project.

    Likewise, feeling "light" is not an indicator that there is a problem. Most chickens will feel "light" compared to what they look like they should weigh. Much of their mass is feathers. Feathers are light. Only very compact, meaty type chickens will weigh what they look like they should weigh.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by