A happy ending - 2 battery hens...but how do I feed them up?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by purplesquirrel, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. purplesquirrel

    purplesquirrel Chirping

    Dec 7, 2013
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    I recently bought 2 hens (for £2 each!) from a very poor environment, in a huge barn with about 1000 others.
    Which was about 20cm deep in chicken poo, with eggs all over the floor, the air was awful, the condition of the hens ranged from baldness, damaged feet, combs, wattles, feathers and very badly developed beaks.

    The two I chose were the healthiest I could see/catch, and after getting them home and putting them in a small run on my lawn in the evening sun, I realised I did manage to get two nice ones! With clean, pink faces and bright eyes.

    Only until picking up my others hens and the cock, have a realised how skinny my new rescu'ees are, with hardly any breast muscle whatsoever and a very weak looking frame.

    What can I give them to feed them up? Vegetable fat in their feed? Lard?
    Or shall I just shower them with feed and vegetable scraps?

    Any answers would be much appreciated!


    in their day time run:


  2. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    They look quite good considering the sounds of where they came from. I have never had a rescue, so a bit of salt best be added to my suggestion, would a higher protein feed be a good idea, probably some fresh veggies, fruit but i would expect time is what is the best cure, fresh air, good feed.

    I know my mama ducks wore down from brooding eat a higher protein with their littles that was my basis for the recommendation. There are many threads here on rescues though so i would do a search for those, likely chopped full of sound advice.

    Love to see update on how they do!
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  3. purplesquirrel

    purplesquirrel Chirping

    Dec 7, 2013
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    awesome many thanks
  4. ChickenJerk

    ChickenJerk Songster

    Jan 6, 2012
    So how much do they weigh and how much do you think they should weigh? These are egg type chickens and are very lean. Plump heavy weight birds are meat type (or on a lower plane, dual purpose).

    You have probably selected poor layers considering their condition relative to the others.

    Remember that these birds are accustomed to a high density diet and including low nutrition items other than a balanced feed, which they have been used to eating, will be detrimental at first. Adding high protein items may be entirely unuseful as well. The protein has to include the right amino acids and too much protein is not useful and sometimes detrimental.The addition of a little bit of about any kind of fat will help them over stress and add weight. Don't overdo it because build up of body fat is no better for them than it is for us. By the looks of them they are probably carrying some body fat already,
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    They look good. As ChickenJerk said they are egg layers and not genetically built to be a big chicken. If you recently got Sussex or some other dual purpose bird then they will look scrawny in comparison but actually are healthy.

    Putting fat on a chicken decreases egg production. You'd only fatten a chicken if you were going to eat it. Provide the same feed you normally would and they will thrive. Layer blend (has extra calcium for layers) or grower blend with oyster shell on the side free choice for the calcium.

  6. purplesquirrel

    purplesquirrel Chirping

    Dec 7, 2013
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    thank you both, maybe they are just scrawny!
    I bought them on Saturday, had one egg on sunday morning and I've already had 2 today!
    Lovin this relationship... [​IMG]

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