Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Helping a slow growing chick

Holly, the gold sex-link chick I bought from IFA, seemed to be doing OK, but wasn't growing.  Here's what I did (after consulting the wisdom of backyardchickens.com).

  1. fed her mash three times a day.  I made the mash by mixing warm water with her starter feed.  I just put it in a lid from a peanut butter jar in the brooder for all the chicks to enjoy.  She really liked this.
  2. Fed her a hard boiled egg every other day.  Instead of mash for breakfast, I fed her (and the other chicks) a freshly boiled, mashed hard boiled egg.  I mash the egg with a fork.  I only leave it in the brooder for about half an hour then throw away what they don't eat.  I do it every other day since I had read that feeding chicks too much hard boiled egg can cause diarrhea or constipation.  I had also read that chicks shouldn't be fed hard boiled eggs that had been refrigerated since bacteria can grow. It isn't enough to harm humans, but it can harm chicks. (Don't know if this is true, but I didn't want to take chances.)
  3. Bought a back up chick.  Since the sex-link was the only one I knew for sure was a hen, I went back to IFA and bought a back up golden sex-link chick in case she didn't make it.  I think the other chick helped because she shook up the pecking order (the silkie had been picking on Holly) and she was brown too.  All the other chicks were black and I think it made the golden sex-link stand out.
  4. Bought a food scale from Wal-mart to weigh her.  It was reassuring to be able to tell that she was getting heavier.
  5. Prayed.  This definitely helped me keep a good perspective.
Right now Holly is growing.  She is almost as big as the bantams now. (She was much smaller.)  She is about 2/3 the size of the other sex-link. I'm hoping she grows up to lay many delicious eggs.

Updated (6/5/14): I switched over to fermented feed, which is about the same as mash in my mind.  Holly is only slightly smaller than the other sex-link.

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