Why are my (2) meat chickens different sizes?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by CALI CHICK, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. CALI CHICK

    CALI CHICK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Rio Linda, CA
    Hi Everyone - This is my first post, but I've been reading and searching BYC for 6 months! We had gotten 4 silkies in April and the breeder suggested we join BYC to help us learn about chickens. Back Yard Chicken has been SO helpful time and again...thank you! Unfortunately those adorable silkies ALL turned out to be roosters and had to be re-homed because of county ordinances not allowing roosters. [​IMG] My son is also in 4-H so we decided to go a different route and continue enjoying this new passion for chickens. Eight weeks ago (August) we went to the feed store and got 3 pullets and 2 meat chickens. The pullets are 1 Rhode Island Red (named Rhodie), 1 Plymouth Barred Rock (named Rocky) and 1 Buff Orpington (named Buffy), our favorite. The names are not very original, but I hoped the names would help my son remember their breeds!

    I have a question about my 2 cornish X...Stew and Denny! Can anyone explain why they are different sizes? They are both 8 weeks old and have had access to the same feed, living conditions, etc. They seem to be the same sex -as their comb and waddles are the same size. There are two possible causes I can think of, but I'm new at this: 1)The "skinnier" chicken is more active and interactive with the pullets 2)The "skinnier" chicken also has an underbite? I noticed that his top beak doesn't overlap the bottom beak like the other chickens. This could possibly effect how much food he shovels in?? They are both BIG, but I'm not sure the "skinnier" one is ready for butchering-which I wanted to do sometime next week? The fatter chicken is ready to burst, so maybe we should put him on a diet? They both seem healthy and stay relatively active since the 3 pullets keep them on their toes! (The pullets also introduced the notion that you can eat grass and bugs!) We planned to skin them both at the same time, but I'm not sure if we should just butcher the big one and wait for the other to add a little weight.

    I would love to post pictures, but haven't figured that out yet. I would appreciate any suggestions or comments, especially about Stew and Denny. Thank you, Darla
     
  2. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    Muskegon
    Hello and [​IMG] I would guess it could have to do with the underbite. And sometimes you get runts of the litter here and there. He may start to get better once the bigger one is gone? Just a though. [​IMG]
     
  3. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Process both of them at the same time. Keeping a deformed bird is only a waste of time and money as this bird has a deformed beak , so it stands to reason that it may also have other unseen deformities that is causing the lack of groth. Good luck.
     
  4. CALI CHICK

    CALI CHICK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
    Thank you. You are probably both right...it may be a runt with a deformity! But, he has attitude and spunk. I wish he would just mind his own business of eating and getting fat instead of picking on the pullets and wondering what they are doing. I have the pullets in the tractor to eat bugs and grass and the meaties in the chicken yard to chow down without distractions today.
    An underbeak is certainly something I will know to watch for next time we get meat chickens. It is hardly noticeable, but we are out with are little flock every day-often. Hope the picture showed up at the top. the one sitting on the right is Denny who is much skinnier than Stew (standing) and always eating. Maybe I can fatten Denny up with some mealworms and special mash in the next few days. Thanks again [​IMG]
     
  5. Saltysteele

    Saltysteele Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2011
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    where did you get them? the smaller bird looks very healthy, and appears to be getting plenty of food.

    my thought (and again, i don't know where you got them) is that the smaller bird may not be 100% cornish cross. unless you get them from a reputable breeder (or the likes), you may not be getting 100% of what you think you are getting.

    they just look a little bit different to me, but i can't put my finger on what it is.
     
  6. CALI CHICK

    CALI CHICK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bought these Cornish X from a local feed store in Rio Linda. (River Valley Feed) I've always felt they are honest and very helpful with any questions or concerns since I began shopping there.

    The strange thing about these 2 chickens is that they looked identical for the first 4 weeks so we couldn't even tell them apart. Then in the last 2 or 3 weeks it seemed like Stew just ballooned! Denny (the smaller bird) is much more active...and you may be right about him having some other breed in him. They both do seem healthy, but are so different from what I expected a meat bird to be like. Stew (the fatter one) is more mellow, lives to eat and has the "waddle, waddle, plop, I'm tired walk" -but has the sweetest little peep. -We should have named him Baby Huey! Denny on the other hand thinks he's a regular chicken and even tried to fly up to the perch in the coop. That didn't go well, he pulled a whole container over ontop of himself and Stew and the pullets pooped on them all night. Denny also chases the little pullets sometimes and pecks them if they bother him.

    They are both very personable and friendly and their feathers and coloring are very pretty. (I do confess to giving them a bath when it's hot enough and they need it.) We really tried not to get attached, but they add alot of personality to our little flock. I thought meat chickens would just be fat, ugly, smelly and glutinous, and not have much of a personality! Maybe I notice these differences because we only have 2 and not 20 like some folks. We have someone helping us butcher Stew this Sunday. Since it's just one, we plan to skin it. I hope it goes OK, as in I hope I can cook and eat it after all this work! [​IMG] I've been prepping my son on how we have given them the best life a meat chicken could ask for (and then some) but I don't know if I'm as strong as him now!
     
  7. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    The hens are smaller, but it looks to me like you've got 2 different breeds there.

    Sometimes someone will take a chick out of the bins and put them back into the wrong bin. One of the risks of buying chicks at a feed store.
     
  8. CALI CHICK

    CALI CHICK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I weighed these guys this morning and there is only a 2 lb difference. I thought it would be more. The big-guy (Stew) was a bit over 8 lbs and Denny weighed 6 pounds. A six pounder isn't too bad, right? Several of you mentioned they are possibly different breeds, but I'm leaning toward just different temperament and maybe a "runt" like someone else mentioned. Their feathering, color, legs, overall appearance is identical. Their behavior and weight gain (and the underbeak issue) are the only differences. (And they "looked" exactly alike from day one?)

    I'm thinking it might be best to butcher them both (in 2 days) because Denny (the "skinny one") is actually trying to CROW??????????????? Wow, I knew the Cornish X developed fast, but I never imagined they would crow at 8 weeks!!
     

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