Skinny pullets? Help!!

Amber88

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Hi, guys! I'm new to this site and chickenery. :) We have 16 5.5 week old pullets (Easter Eggers and Buff Orpingtons) that we received from Cackle Hatchery as baby chicks. My sister in law that is a vet tech sees quite a few chickens said that our ladies are really skinny, and you can feel their breastbones. The thing is we can feel all their breastbones, and I'm so confused as to why they would be skinny. They have food available to them all day (we were feeding an organic brand from tractor supply bc I was waiting on the organic brand from new country organics), and they get treats almost every day which included crickets, broccoli, carrots, grapes, tomatoes, spinach, etc. I put organic apple cider vinegar in their water since day one. Their poops seem ok based on a few websites I saw. Some can be runny, so I was concerned. The websites said that's ok. They are darker in color, but I know you can't believe everything so I thought I would check with you guys to see where I'm going wrong. They don't act like they are sick. They all look plump and bright. They stay in a brooder in our house in a room that is under construction. So, I don't know what it going on! I attached a photo so you can see the size of our brooder.
 

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Mother Hen

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Backyard Chickens is going on a new server but there's plenty of members here from BYC that should be able to give you better assistance than I seeing how I myself am still learning about chickens- been tending to them for almost 2 years now and still learning.
 

Oellian

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They look fine to me! Why are you worried?
I agree with Mother Hen that you should make sure they're getting enough protein, just as a general good thing to do with any growing birds.
What's up with the vinegar in the water, though? I don't think I'd like that, and I'm not so sure they would, either.
Do they get to go outside and forage at all? If not, I'd recommend that you figure out a way that they could do that, so they can get bugs and other protein snacks. If you can get a roll of fencing fine enough so that they can't walk right through it, and high enough that they won't bother jumping it, just make a big circle with the fence, and pitch the birds in it somewhere outside where you can mind 'em for a while, and let them "express their native chicken-ness" as Joel Sallatin put it. I use 3'-tall "rabbit guard" fencing (it has smaller gaps near the bottom; perfect for younger birds), and even my grown birds don't go over it.
 

BYCDebiD

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Read the feed label. What are the %s for protein and fat? There is a wide range of chicken feed out there for different life stages so if you're using a 15% protein "grower" rather than a 20% starter, that would be a problem. Next, read the date stamp on the seam to be sure it isn't stale or possibly rancid. I know when I went to TSC the last time, they had feed that was 6 months old still on the shelf! You would also want to limit the treats so that their starter is the bulk of their diet.
 

Chicken Girl

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They look fine to me as well. My chicks are always 'skinny' until they start growing and maturing more. As long as they are eating good nutrients I wouldn't be worried.
 

Amber88

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They are on a starter feed. I was hoping to use that up before jumping to a grower feed. I had just read the New Country Organics label, and it says to switch at 4-5 weeks so I ordered their grower feed. The TSC food is all gone. I'm working on the NCO now. Their protein percentage for starter is 21%, and their grower feed is 19%. I don't have the bag from TSC anymore so maybe their protein wasn't as high, and that is where our issues are. I just started this feed several days ago. I let them go outside when it's nice. It has been up and day weather here in IL, so not every day they get out. They actually just got out today for a couple of hours, and they even did a bit of free ranging without the fence! (That was done by accident though. haha. I was trying to move the fence so there would be more shade from them, and it was definitely more than a one woman job. They escaped! They did great though. :))

As far as the ACV, I read in different posts, blogs, etc. that it is very beneficial in keeping good bacteria in the chicken' s gut. They don't seem to mind it, but since I started on day one, they may know no different! I have two liter nipple waterers, and I have to fill them at least once a day bc they drink so much. :) I know it doesn't harm them (people even drink some daily for the same benefits), so I thought why not?! Haha
 

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Phage

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How much vinegar is in their water?
They may just be a skinny breed. From what you describe (except maybe the ACV) they should be well fed!
Also are you putting anything else in the water like electrolytes?
I knew someone whose chicks kept dying because they were dumping tons of water additives/vitamins/electrolytes into the water thinking more is better.
 

Amber88

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A teaspoon to each liter. It said a tablespoon to a gallon so I hope I did the conversion right (very awkward conversion)! Nope..only ACV

I really do appreciate everyone's time and advice!
 

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