Why is my RIR hen smaller than her sister?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by flockof5, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. flockof5

    flockof5 In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2008
    I got 2 RIRs from feed store right before Easter. One is large and laying normal sized eggs. The other is smaller, and isn't laying eggs every day yet. When she does, they are way smaller than her sister's.

    The smaller RIR is the same size as our 3 Barred Rock pullets that are one full month younger than her, and aren't laying yet.

    Is something wrong with my small RIR? Could it be worms or something making her not grow well and not lay well and have smaller eggs?

    When she eats, she seems to have a harder time swallowing larger bits. The bigger one will just gulp down a scrap, while the smaller one has to peck at it before swallowing it.

    All have access to grit. They free range in our fullly fenced backyard.

    Here's a picture through our screen door. The smaller one is in the top left of the picture. You can see compared to the barred rocks, she's the same size, and the other RIR is much bigger.

  2. Ladysonja

    Ladysonja Songster

    Jul 29, 2008
    Porter, Texas
    Good Question - I was told that both of my RIR were the same age from the same hatching, but one of the RIR is smaller than the sister.

    I named her Runt because she was so much smaller. I just wonder if you and I were told the birds were the same age, but in reality, they are a month different in age. [​IMG]

    As for the eating disorder, I do not have any information for you. Maybe someone else with more experience can offer a suggestion.

    Good Luck.
  3. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    describe the droppings...color and consistency

    try giving vitamins.
    and you might try Avia Charge, available at McMurray Hatchery
    make sure she isn't being bullied away from feed and water..
    you could try confining her for a little bit each day and letting her eat without competition..
    give her some cooked egg.

    check the crop for any lumps, and make sure it's emptying fully, and not partially impacted, or has a sour odor.

    she could possibly be younger, or simply a runt..
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Well, could very well be that your two RIR's aren't actually sisters and have different parents who are different sizes. So she could just be genetically smaller than her "sister". And even if they were true sisters, even sisters in other animals can vary in size :p.

    As long as she eats and acts healthy, I'd not worry one bit!
  5. flockof5

    flockof5 In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2008
    Sammi, her droppings seem normal Dark brown with white in them, solid looking. I haven't seen any worms. Her crop has no lumps, but I only checked it in the evening. I will check it tomorrow morning. I will try confining her with food. That's a good idea. I haven't noticed any bullying, but will watch for it.

    She was the same size as the other one for the first three months, then she seems to have stopped growing. Wouldn't a runt look smaller from the beginning? I'm new to all this.
  6. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    I think it's a good idea to check her and keep watch..

    it does make sense if she were a runt, she'd have been smaller from the start..but it's possible her parents were different then the others, and may have been smaller birds.
  7. flockof5

    flockof5 In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2008
    I did wonder if she was a bantam that the hatchery accidentally mixed with the full-sized RIR. But the coloring is exactly the same on both hens. Who knows?
  8. chickiebaby

    chickiebaby Songster

    Jan 2, 2008
    western mass
    Have to say, when I have pairs one's almost always bigger, usually to do, I think, even in a peaceful flock, with the pecking order. Somebody is just getting more than somebody else, I'm afraid.
  9. flockof5

    flockof5 In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2008
    So does that change when you have three or more? Because the three BR are all exactly the same size so far! Hmmm.....
  10. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    Is the smallest one at the bottom of the pecking order? It doesn't just happen with two - - someone always ends up at the bottom, and that hen ends up with last choice at food.

    I found I really had to watch my girls closely to see who was really getting what - - and the only way to tell for sure was to pull each one out and let them eat by themselves. It was a real eye-opener: I had no idea that one liked one kind of snack, and one preferred another, and I really noticed I had a couple of real piggies and two very picky, light eaters who could easily end up getting less.

    Do you have more than one feeder & waterer available? Whether or not that ends up being the cause of your small hen's size, it may be something to consider if you haven't already.

    Good luck!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: