Really skinny hen

Discussion in 'General Chicken Discussion' started by Spear, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. Spear

    Spear New Member

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    I'm really confused! My little white leghorn is laying like a champ - everyday 1 beautiful white egg -, she eats until her crop is so full it looks like a balloon tucked up under her chest feathers, but when I pick her up she weighs nothing and I can feel her breast bone like a razor under her feathers!
    How can such a happy, big eater be just feathers and bone :confused:?
     
  2. Nm156

    Nm156 Well-Known Member

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    White Leghorns are very small birds normally.
     

  3. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    I guess a weight would be a good idea. The only white I had didn't sound like your description. She wasn't a heavy weight but wasn't extremely boney either.
     
  4. WeeLittleChicken

    WeeLittleChicken Active Member

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    If you're used to dual purpose birds than yes, Leghorns are ungodly scrawny. They may be the scrawniest as they were bred to have the best feed to egg ratio. While the larger birds eat to pack on weight leghorns eat to produce piles of eggs. I have the Mille Fleurs who aren't even as bad as the regular white ones and man.... they can squeeze through holes you wouldn't believe because of their tall skinny structure!

    If you're worried about it you can maybe see if someone in the area also has a leghorn to compare her with to see if she's really thin or just naturally that way. If she's still eating like a bear she's probably fine though.
     
  5. seminole wind

    seminole wind Previously seminolewind

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    She's wormed regularly? Protein high enough? She eats and lays well. So I have to say she's probably fine.
     
  6. Fiere

    Fiere New Member

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    My production leghorn were never "razor keeled" but they are thin. Only time she (the last of her kind here) puts some bloom on is in dead winter when she's not laying, not as active, and getting an added ration of cracked corn everyday. And by bloom I means she gains almost whole pound. What a fatty!
    I liken them to a Holstein cow. They could be healthy as anything but still look like a picket fence with a hide drying on it. As Wee has said, they eat to make eggs, not sustain themselves.
     
  7. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    That's a good way to put it, Fiere. Razor keeled. Mine wasn't either. She wasn't plump like the others but I was never concerned about her condition.

    That's why I'm saying a weight might be needed because sometimes when someone is not accustomed to how they should be can be describing what is normal but feels so very abnormal to the owner. Do you get what I'm trying to say? Feeling a keel on Silkie like one in a white LH would spell serious trouble for a Silkie. But what if the keel is razor sharp on this bird?
     
  8. Spear

    Spear New Member

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    Thanks guys! I was worried because she just feels so skinny despite eating way more than the other Ladies in the flock, now I know it is normal for her breed to be scrawny.
     
  9. seminole wind

    seminole wind Previously seminolewind

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    I don't know but I hear that backyard or free range chickens will not be plump because that will only happen if they are confined and fed lots of corn. Or happen to be one of those breeds that are for eating. I think their weight is related to their laying habits. They get plumper, then lay themselves thin. I mean each egg is about 100 calories expended plus calories for daily living expended. I wonder how many calories a cup of feed is?
     
  10. kgb6days

    kgb6days Member

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    My leghorns are skinny little girls too - especially compared to my black stars - but they are my first to lay eggs and have been daily since the day they started. Still waiting for my big fat black stars to get into production gear
     
  11. hildar

    hildar New Member

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    We had the brown leghorns not the white ones and they were thin and scrawny not a good choice for eating. In fact my leghorn rooster that I culled last fall had less then 1 pound of meat on him not even worth the money to buy them. All chickens to me should be duel purpose Leghorns I always say are only good for eggs. Plus I prefer brown eggs.
     
  12. Fiere

    Fiere New Member

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    Leghorns are designed to only be good for eggs lol. Most Mediterranean breeds are of light build and used for mostly eggs or exhibition. Leghorns have been honed for years to be one of the best egg layers and therefore their meat capabilities are non-existent.
     
  13. hildar

    hildar New Member

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    I have to 100% agree with that. If you just want eggs, they are great. However you will need more acreage since you will have to bury them when they die rather then eat them.:rolleyes:
     
  14. Fiere

    Fiere New Member

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    All our Mediterranean type cockerels go for dog food. Not worth it for me to cook one for a family of 3 but I get two dog meals out of them. Works for us, I keep my Aiustralorp cockerels for our meal and all my EE cockerels for the four leggers.