I just got 7 chickens from a friend who had a flock of over 20. They let their chickens free range all over their yard/field and also feed them but they are thin (I think). They are red sex links and white rocks. Very friendly chickens but ravenous. I feed them meal twice a day and throw out everything I have for them, scraps, weeds, old lettuce/veggies, stuff from the garden, ANYTHING I can find. What can I do to get some meat on their bones, or are these breeds supposed to be on the thin side?
How to fatten up my hens
No they're not supposed to be thin. White rocks are one of the breeds that was often used for meat before Cornish X days. Are they full grown? When you say meal, do you mean corn meal?
If both answers are yes, I would go to a feed store and get some grower and/or gamebird feed. They would ordinarily be on layer feed if adults, but it is lower in protein than grower or gamebird, so hopefully this will give them a boost. I think you will find it is less expensive to feed chick food than people food. You can still give them some scraps,though.
Some others will no doubt come along with some more good suggestions.
Pictures would help. All chickens, from my expereince, eat like this. There only job in live is to eat everything in sight and produce eggs Ours always act as if they have been starved. They are just spoiled rotten and would rather have oatmeal than chicken food But if yours really are that thin, and are eating alot, I would guess that they have some sort of illness. I am not a chicken expert though. There are more helpful people on this forum, just post a picture to help them figure it out
corn will put weight on them quicker then anything pretty much... check them often, when they get in good shape cut the corn out, otherwise they will get FAT... And that wouldn't be very good for this time of year when it's going to get hot.. i would use Crack corn, I've watched roosters/hens in large fowl choke to death on whole corn.. some of my favorite ones to be exact, seems to be the ones that always die.
ETA: when was the last time they were wormed? it wouldn't hurt to worm them and possibly put some vitamins in their feed or water.
Edited by DTchickens - 5/30/09 at 11:29am
Ah, had not thought of worms, a very good idea. Can you ask the former owner?
If the keel/breast bone is sticking out or feels kinda sharp, they are thin. And worms would certainly make them thin. Correct that the all eat like they are starved, though.
1) 1-2KG of what some call soy (others call it soya flour) mixed with 50KG of your regular feed. My experience with it here has been good - someone else came to my house and was impressed by the size of my birds. After stopping using it for a while, the new ones didn't seem as big as they used to, so I have recently resumed and hopefully I'll see a difference.
2) A bit of patience. Chickens seem to take longer than quails etc to fatten up (unless it's the artificially engineered broiler type).
Edited by thespeedyz - 11/14/12 at 2:54pm
I have been haveing the same problem I got on here and asked for help and did what they said .I have wormed my chickens and 10 days later I wormed them again and now they seem healthier and the sides of the breast bones seem to be slowly filling in I also am feeding them all flock feed mixed with layena it is higher in fat. I used valbazen 1/2 cc/ml for adult chickens 1/4 cc/ml small ones wait 7-10 days do it again and there is a withdrawl time of 10 days after last treatment this means you cant eat the eggs for 10 days after the last wormer treatment so no eggs eating for 20 days after first treatment :( I hope this helps Oh purena chicken feed is the only feed that has added vitamins and minarals at least around here thats why i pay 2 dollars more for layena :)
I too have thin hens, ISA Browns. I feed them as much as possible. They don't seem to like the cracked corn as much as the scratch with other seeds in it. They had their beaks cut before we got them, and it's very hard for them to pick up little pieces. They can't preen themselves either, and therefore constantly have lice. We dust them with DE. They seem happy but don't lay many eggs. I will check out worming; haven't done that.
Any suggestions about mis-shaped, cut beaks? I've read that it's very painful to trim them, and I don't want to terrorize the hens.