Battery cage hens not doing well! Help!


In the Brooder
11 Years
May 10, 2008
Silverton, OR
We adopted 11 ex battery cage hens in November of last year. Needless to say, they were a mess: skinny, half feathered, and ravenous all the time. They improved quite a bit and have been doing quite well until the last couple months or so. They are all losing feathers again but I don't think it's regular molting. They have partially naked necks, tummies and tushies (they are the messiest poopers ever). And they look scraggly all over, although their eyes are bright and their combs and wattles are a nice bright red. We have other hens and roos who are all doing very well so I don't think it's flock issue. The battery girls had their beaks cut off so they can't groom properly but we have dusted them twice in the last six weeks so I don't think lice or mites are the problem. But maybe they are. Two have recently died - suddenly, with no apparent illness and no attacks.

They eat a combination of all purpose poultry feed (they share food with ducks and roos), five-grain blend and scraps. And they're free range so whatever bugs, grass, etc. they find.

I'm worried that the way they've been bred and the way they spent the first two years of their lives (in chicken hell) has put them at a terrible disadvantage. They eat enormous amounts of food and are all pretty skinny just the same.

I've tried putting vitamins and electrolytes in their water and that doesn't seem to help.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
California, central valley
If you've ruled out mites/lice then it may be molting, I have several very raggedy, half naked birds right now as well. It's that time of year.

As far as them being skinny... have they ever been dewormed since you got them? Now that they are on the ground and exposed to parasites it would be a good idea.

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