Undoubtedly poultry farming has been a dominant and highly profitable commercialized industry from the perspective of meat consumption.
But you cannot deny the challenges that can make it difficult for you to raise chickens.
There are several post-hatchery challenges during the growth period for chicks.
If neglected, there could be high risks of increased mortality rate that can significantly affect your profit.
Regardless of the 1600 recognized species worldwide, slow or stunted growth is a common issue domestically and commercially.
In this article we’re going to talk about why your chicken is not growing
We’ll provide 6 possible reasons and then the solutions too
Let’s get started!
What Is Stunted Growth?
Usually, at the age of 3 months, some of the chickens in your flock may show weakness and laziness.
If you do not see the expected uniformity in weight and growth of your flock, they may be suffering from stunted growth.
They seem to eat and drink normally, but they are visibly smaller than the rest of the chickens that are the same age
This can be worrying
Usually, a well-grown chicken is ready to slaughter within 4 to 6 weeks, whereas stunted ones may take up to 14 weeks to reach the standard slaughter weight, leading to a loss.
Why Is My Chicken Growing Slowly, And How Can I Help It Thrive?
There are several reasons your chicken is not growing ideally and looks unhealthy.
Optimal preventive measures can help prevent your flock from stunt growth and thrive again.
Here are the six primary reasons for the stunted growth of chickens and six solutions to help them thrive again.
So, sit back and read through.
1- Poor breed.
The quality breed is the most important when raising meat chickens.
Some of the incredibly fast-growing endearing chicken breeds are cornish cross, Chanteclers, Delaware, Freedom Rangers, and Kosher Kings.
It could be a poor breed if your birds are not growing normally compared to the companion birds.
Some species grow faster and bigger than others in the same circumstances.
Do some research about the species you’re going to raise, and make sure to purchase your first flock from a well-known, trusted breeder or hatchery.
2- Brooding period
The brooding period (Post-hatchery’s first seven days) is crucial for the little chicks where minor neglect can cause you a lot.
Because their intestinal and digestive system is still in the development process.
Chicks are unable to regulate their body temperature, which means they can get a Yolk Sac Infection, and eventually die within the first 24 hours.
Mortality risks are high at this stage, and if it recovers luckily, it will remain smaller and weaker than its fellow chicks.
Optimal brooding arrangements are crucial according to the weather.
Keep the humidity level low for your newly hatched chicks.
Make sure to arrange a dry place and a good heat source to keep them warm and prevent bacterial infections.
Let them absorb the yolk in their body, and don’t offer them first feed for a few hours until they digest it.
Ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit temperature and an adequate expandable room of 3 to 4 square feet are ideal for the little chicks to take a strong start.
Despite the excellent quality breed, you may notice the stunted growth in some of your chickens.
They could be suffering from malnutrition.
Chickens love scratches and treat, but if they depend primarily on treats and scratches, they will suffer from nutritional deficiency and become weak.
Maybe their feeding and watering pots are out of their reach, and they struggle to get to them.
Parasites and worms also cause malnutrition in chickens as they eat up a huge part of their feed, and the chickens start getting stunted.
You should reconsider the diet that you’re feeding your chickens.
Also, keep the feeding and watering pots within reach and slightly lifted from the ground according to their height.
Treats are not harmful if consumed only 10% of their essential nutrient-rich foods.
In an effort to save cost, do not feed your chickens with sub-standard food, or it will result in a malnourished flock later on.
Try some high protein foods for the healthy nurturing of your chicks, such as dried mealworms, dried soldier fly larvae, seeds, non-medicated chick starters, sprouts, parsley, eggs, peas, etc.
De-worm your chicks at the age of 3 months.
De-worming makes them weaker temporarily, and then they get better quickly.
Imagine what damage worms could cause to your flock if not treated.
4- Boost immunity.
Despite the suitable species, nutrition-rich food, healthy brooding, and all the precautionary measures, you may still experience stunt growth in chickens.
They seem to take food properly but look weak and lazy.
They like to sit mostly and do not look active like the other chickens in the flock.
Minor neglect could cause you a lot.
In such a case, you need to boost the immunity system of your chickens by adding multivitamins (A, C, D & E) in their feed.
Vitamins not only boost their immunity but also help reduce stress, fight against diseases, and enhance the responses to the vaccine.
You may experience stunted growth in Chickens due to some health conditions in their early growth.
It can be challenging for you if you are unaware of the diseases and infections that your chicken could possibly suffer from.
In some cases, chickens may recover from minor health issues, but they look remarkably smaller and weaker than the rest of the flock.
Chickens could fight several diseases in their lifetime, such as Fowl Cholera, Coccidiosis, Avian Influenza, Fowl Pox, Newcastle Disease, Salmonellosis, etc.
Precaution is always better than cure. Disinfect the room regularly every month and get your flock vaccinated by a qualified vet before any bacterial disease attacks. If any of the birds shows the symptoms of disease, laziness, starts sitting most of the time, doesn’t eat well, or shows unusual droppings, separate it from the rest of the flock immediately because it can spread the disease to other chickens too.
But remember, viral diseases have no cures; just waste them away, kill them or feed them to your dog.
6 – Stress
A hurdling and stifling atmosphere, Improper ventilation in summer can also cause your chickens to stress and suffocate.
They remain under-grown and get stunted if not sick.
But remember, stunted chickens can catch diseases faster.
In winter, if not provided a good heat source, they can get flu and respiratory infections due to cold.
It is also possible that their feeding and watering pots are out of their reach, and they are getting insufficient food to gain meat weight and stay active.
Arrange a good heating source in their room to prevent them from chilling in the cold.
Keep their feed and water pots within easy access as per the height of your flock.
Provide adequate ventilation for fresh air circulation and shades from sunlight in summer.
The room must be big enough so that each bird can move freely and has adequate space
Chicken enjoy sitting on bars and branches; you can fix a two or three feet high wood log/iron bar for their leisure.
The poultry business is a highly profitable and the most in-demand option in the meat industry worldwide.
In this article, you will find authentic information about raising backyard layers domestically or poultry business commercially, understanding their health conditions, and general healthy welfare.
If you follow the instructions mentioned earlier, take preventive measures, and most of all, love seeing your flock well-nourished and producing lots of meat, you can become an excellent successful poultry farmer.