Best way to feed up my hen?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by krista74, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Hi all,

    I have a hen who has just finished hatching and raising 5 chicks. All up she sat on her nest for 24 days (3 days on plastic eggs at the start) and was then separated from the flock with her chicks for a further 5 1/2 weeks, during which time she did not go outside to forage at all.

    Despite having 24/7 free access to layers pellets and a plate of fresh vegies every day, she has lost a lot of weight. I can feel her keel bone quite prominently and was wondering what is the best way to put some condition on her?

    Obviously, she still has the layers pellets, but I suspect she needs something else to build her up and put on some weight.

    Any suggestions on what would be best to give her?

    - Krista
  2. Toddrick

    Toddrick Songster

    Sep 28, 2014
    My 2yo chickens seemed skinny, so I've been mixing boiled egg yolks with starter feed and cracked corn, wheat, Cheerios, or whatever else they like. I also put the crushed egg shells on the side for calcium. I also was throwing in some deli meats or meal worms as a treat. I figured they need some fat to get through the winter.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    My broodies get Flock Raiser, not layer feed. The hen isn't laying eggs until she stops caring for her chicks, so doesn't need the extra calcium. What she does need is calorie dense higher protein feed, like the grower crumbles, the same feed needed by her chicks. Veggies and various treats (Cherios!!) are treats, not as nutritious as the grower feed. Mary
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    It's also normal for broodies to loose weight while setting, as they don't eat as much as normal. The hen will regain her weight after the chicks hatch. Mary
  5. Often the first sign of worms is weight loss. Have you wormed your chickens lately? If you have what did you use?
  6. pawtraitart

    pawtraitart Songster

    May 30, 2007
    Have you tried giving her a ration of fermented feed daily? Fermenting pre-digests the food making it more bio-available. That is, the nutrition is easier to absorb. Just a thought.
  7. Ila88

    Ila88 Chirping

    Jul 5, 2014
    Vancouver Island
    I read about fermented feed, but what is it? My chickens just won't eat their pellets.
  8. ChubbyMealworms

    ChubbyMealworms Hatching

    Oct 27, 2014
    It will be a good idea to add extra protein to the diet to try and build her up again. Try dried mealworms from
  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    The best thing you can do is feed her is a good high protein feed like a chick starter, all flock, or better yet a game feed, as Folly said she is not laying so she does not need the high amount of calcium in layer feed.

    Also you may want to cut out the treats as in the vegetables, they tend to drop the much needed nutrients of there poultry feed.

    As for fermenting there feed, well we all have our thoughts on it. I myself don't feed it, the loss of some nutrients during fermentation and the production of ammonia, alcohol, etc.

    I also want to add that fermenting feeds can lower vitamin B12, the most important function of vitamin B12 is in the metabolism of nucleic acids and proteins, it also functions in carbohydrate and fat metabolism. A deficiency of vitamin B12 results in reduced weight gain and feed intake, along with poor feathering.
  10. ChubbyMealworms

    ChubbyMealworms Hatching

    Oct 27, 2014
    A high protein diet is definitely a good idea to build her strength up again, our dried mealworms have 53% protein and during the winter when natural insects are harder to come by are a great supplement.

    I hope she puts on weight and gets better quickly.
    1 person likes this.
  11. 11mini

    11mini Songster

    Aug 17, 2014
    Lake Stevens, WA
    After a tough molt and a bacterial infection I wanted to find a protein boost, also like the low sodium content.

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