chickens failing to thrive

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Henrietta
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chickens failing to thrive

Post by Henrietta » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:55 am

Two new girls (around 16- 20 weeks old) - Silver Linked Ambers (bred for egg production I understand). Had them around 6 weeks now. They eat loads of food (layers pellets - particularly if mashed with water), drinks loads and poo loads(very wet and including some runny brown). They lay, they run around and yet are as skinny as anything. At end of day - crop feels full - if a little watery (not sour crop - no smell etc.). Keel bone very prominent and not getting any better. Been to vets, wormed with Flubenvet, treated for Coccidosis (Baycox). Talked to seller who has sent off faecal samples - result = no excessive worm load. I am at a loss as to know what to do. They have mixed with my other girls (bantams) for around 4 weeks now and none are ill or have any symptoms. They look well, wattles and combs nice and red and firm - but I have never encountered girls with such appetites (seem to be starving all the time) or with such throughput (I need to clean around the area a couple of times per day. Any ideas anyone?
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rick
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Re: chickens failing to thrive

Post by rick » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:23 pm

Have you had these hybrids before Henrietta, and if so are they different? My commercial brown egg layers never had a keel that matched the text book - they were all pretty sharp and my blacktail is the same. I think the diagrams (i.e. thin, normal, too fat) apply to general purpose breeds and not these egg laying ninjas!
Evie
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Re: chickens failing to thrive

Post by Evie » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:50 pm

So the pooh is wet, but other than that they sound quite normal, really, lots of young hens that lay are skinny especially if they're active little egg machines. My youngsters always eat stack loads, too.
If they drink less as it gets colder their pooh may well firm up a bit. All bodies are different ;)
Henrietta
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Re: chickens failing to thrive

Post by Henrietta » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:50 pm

Thanks Evie and Rick. I have also talked again with the seller and she is also of the opinion that these hybrids bred for egg laying are thinnner than they used to be. They seem fine otherwise - lively, eating (very) well and laying. So maybe I am more concerned than is necc. Appreciate the thoughts that rather confirm the conclusion I was coming to.
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Marigold
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Re: chickens failing to thrive

Post by Marigold » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:16 pm

Ambers are commercially bred not to waste food on making meat or going to fat, but just to convert all they've got into egg production. Since many domestic hens are at risk from excess fat collecting round their ovaries and causing egg laying problems in middle life, perhaps these will at least be immune to that problem. The runny poo is a little unusual, though, and I understand your concern about that, but since they are clear of worms and otherwise healthy, perhaps not a major problem. What other food do they get besides dry pellets? For instance, could they be eating a lot of greenstuff, or rip fruit dropped from trees or bushes?
Also, at 16-20 weeks they're still 'teenagers' who are not yet fully mature, and may be using a lot of energy in growing to their full potential, besides making an egg every day, which is a lot to ask of a young hen.
bigyetiman
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Re: chickens failing to thrive

Post by bigyetiman » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:13 pm

Agree with the other posts, hens that are bred to lay tend to be thin. We have some new girls about 20 weeks now, and all laying but still growing, boy do they eat,but they are happy and bouncy, with scarlet combs, glossy feathers and lay well. As it has been hot ours have been drinking a lot, and the poo is wetter, and of course one has discovered it is great fun to do a really wet one just inside door to run so you tread in it. An old girl does a humongous poo just outside the pop hole in the morning so all the others have to tread in it on the way out.
Hens can have endless fun with poo
Hen-Gen
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Re: chickens failing to thrive

Post by Hen-Gen » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:20 pm

Ah, fun with poo! Rabbits eat their night-time poo so they can give it another go through the guts to extract all the nutritional benefit. Probably not something the Beatrice Potter types know.
It's a bit like male goats urinating on their own beards to increase their sex appeal. Animals have some strange behaviour which always seems to be hidden from the great British public! :D
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rick
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Re: chickens failing to thrive

Post by rick » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:35 pm

Hen-Gen wrote:It's a bit like male goats urinating on their own beards to increase their sex appeal.
That is so funny! As well as conjuring up images of goatie hipsters - just how do they do that?! :D
bigyetiman
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Re: chickens failing to thrive

Post by bigyetiman » Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:51 am

Only if goatee hipsters are good at yoga I would have thought.
We won a quiz night because OH knew that rabbits eat their own poo and it is called coprophagia, that has stuck in my mind ever since, probably means something vital has now been replaced in my memory by that word
Hen-Gen
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Re: chickens failing to thrive

Post by Hen-Gen » Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:31 am

rick wrote:
Hen-Gen wrote:It's a bit like male goats urinating on their own beards to increase their sex appeal.
That is so funny! As well as conjuring up images of goatie hipsters - just how do they do that?! :D
This might be straying into one of those 'too much information' type conversations but they stick their heads down between their front legs and pee forewards on to it. This combined with their foul smelling musk glands makes taking a female goat for mating on the back seat of a Volkswagen beetle an unrepeatable experience, or I should say the return journey. :(
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