a weight gaining diet needed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by newfoundland, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. newfoundland

    newfoundland Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2010
    What diet can I feed my ex battery hens to help them gain weight? They have lost weight this winter and one has been unwell, although she is progressing nicely now. I feed them layers pellets, porridge and kale every day, and egg yolk on cold days as well. They always seem to leave some food, even though they are pecking around all day. They look well feathered etc. but when handled they are a bit bony. I just want to feed them up so they can tolerate the cold weather better.
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    I see no one stopped in to answer your question, sorry about that. I would recommend getting them a bag of gamebird feed (its high in protein, the one I use is 26% I think). The egg yolks are good, so are meat scraps. Or you could give them a little cat food as a treat, mine love cat food. Good luck!
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Be sure to consider worms also. That is one reason hens can lose weight.

    Also you might see diarrhea and lethargy with worms.

    I would stop the porridge since oats are low in protein. Give kale in small quantities. I agree with Howfunkyisyour chicken about the higher protein feed but be sure to offer oyster shells on the side...you can also feed FlockRaiser or nonmedicated chick starter for awhile to up the protein (also needing oyster shells with these options).

    Here is a nice article from the UK:
  4. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 7, 2011
    I would try scratch or just cracked corn added to their diet. If you haven't wormed them, I would.
  5. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma
    Scratch and corn are fillers. They only have about 8-10% Protein. I would try 16-20% Laying Pellets and a Wormer. IF they do not eat the Layer Pellets add a little water to it and mix it up into a Paste. I am glad to see that you rescued a few hens! Good Luck and Keep us posted on how they do.

  6. ChickenJerk

    ChickenJerk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 6, 2012
    If these are white egg layers their top weight should be 3.5 lbs. You might be able to get them up to four but they could then be fat enough to adversely effect their health. Brown egg layers will weigh slightly more. No layers bred for industrial production should ever not feel "boney" to most backyard growers. They are bred to be lean. Many of the issues with older hens of these strains is that they are so productive that disorders along that line can become rather common as they age and also if they are not cared for as the were bred to be maintained. IOW - Don't get them to fat!

    Stop feeding them that other low nutrition stuff in an in vane effort to change what they are. Layer pellets are what they need and all that they need. The egg yolk is a good source of fat. The kale is a good source of other micro nutrients and will help to color up the egg yolks if you like that. Bagged feed available through feed outlets of 16% or slightly more is very adequate. Feeding them poultry feed greater than 18% is pointless and needlessly expensive.

    Parasitic worms should not be a problem for some time after they came from the cage house. They came out of there with no internal or external parasites so time their infestation from when you got them and how much exposure they have had to potential infection.

    Remember to that they were the recipients of many vaccinations and should be well protected on that front.
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
  8. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Who told you that Scratch and Corn are "fillers"? Who ever told you this is nuts and you may want to find some better resources.

  9. omegorchards

    omegorchards Chillin' With My Peeps

    Try making a wet mash using whole milk. Also, you can purchase hulled sunflowers seeds used in birdfeed in 25# bags. They are 35% fat, vs 3% in corn. My birds love them.
  10. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma
    They are not a whole ration they do not have a lot of nutrition. When I have thrown a handful of cracked corn in there coop the next day I saw pieces of corn in there poop. They don't digest it fully and it is not a nutritious feed alone. Something else needs to be fed to them to increase there nutrition in their feed. Every once and a while I will throw a little on the ground to get them moving around on cold mornings, but that is not to often around here. All I use corn for is to finish out hogs or cows there last 30 days or so of life. What do you think about corn or scratch Chris? You have much more knowledge than I do along the line of feed information.


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