Do you ever limit the chickens' feed to keep them from getting fat?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Rosalind, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. Rosalind

    Rosalind Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Never thought I would have this problem. Just lost one of my best hens, a standard Cochin, to egg-binding. The broken eggshell punched right through her guts, and it looks like she died of internal bleeding. The apparent reason for her being egg-bound, on necropsy, is that she had wads and wads of yellow fat around her large intestine and oviduct. We're talking, morbidly obese, absolutely jam-packed full of fat, hardly any room for organs in there. I have personally never seen this much fat on a chicken--only on a goose that had been fattened for slaughter.

    It honestly never occurred to me that a chicken would get unhealthily overweight, although this particular chicken was indeed always first to the treat bowl and rarely went out in their yard to exercise. However, she always managed to flap her way up to the top perch at night, and that's 4 feet off the ground. These hens get Blue Seal layer feed free choice, a mix of cooked grains and fresh chopped veggies, fish, hardboiled eggs, yogurt and fruit every other day, plus whatever gets cleaned out of the crisper drawer and the cereal canisters once a week and whatever bugs and leaves they dig out of their run.

    It is the dead of winter up here, and I really do not want to restrict their calories just because of the warmth issue. If it were spring, that'd be different, I wouldn't feel bad about putting chubby hens on a diet. But in winter?
  2. ChickenCop

    ChickenCop Songster

    Good question....Myself, I give my birds (70 of them) two scoops of layer(in feeders) and two scoops of cracked corn(tossed out in the yard) a day and thats all they get. I really cant afford to feed them an excessive amount at one time cause in the past I have done it and they eat all that I put out. As for the warmth issue I give them the corn, seems to help keeping them warm. My egg production is pretty consistent with what I give them now compared to then (of course they have slowed down a bit due to the cold weather), so I dont feel that Im cutting them short on feed. That's what works for me. Good Luck![​IMG]
  3. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Crowing Premium Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    I never do. I always keep the feeders full and offer treats in moderation. I think it's the treats and scratch that tend to make the chickens fat, more than the feed does.
  4. birdlover

    birdlover Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    I agree with gumpsgirl.
  5. EliteTempleton

    EliteTempleton Songster

    Aug 9, 2008
    SW MI
    Quote:I think it makes sense too.
  6. FarmerChick

    FarmerChick Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    North Carolina
    You can kill anything with kindness.

    All my animals are on limited feeding schedules. They are never given free choice feeds each day.

    Only grazing type situations.

    Animals were not meant to be eating feed. People made feed because we took away the nature roaming ability to forage for natural foods. We pelleted it, concentrated it for convenience of farming on small lands and confinement.

    So it is best to feed by the instructions on the bag. Cause over feeding anything is not recommended....even us people..LOL
  7. chickenlady

    chickenlady Songster

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    Are you sure it was fat that you saw during the necropsy? Only reason I ask is because of the thread that speckledhen has with photos of a necropsy done on an internal layer that she had and the insides were full of yellow 'stuff', I guess it was like hardened yoke. But is was large masses of it all over. Could yours have been an internal layer and it wasnt that she was obese?
  8. fishmesser

    fishmesser In the Brooder

    Jan 5, 2009
    I have 20 chickens that get free choice of 15 % laying pellets and about a pound of scrach grain every day and none look over weight. just have to find out what workes for your flock and stick with it.
  9. notsooldmcdonald

    notsooldmcdonald Songster

    Oct 14, 2008
    Lempster, NH
    Quote:This is a _great_ question!

    Had to second.
  10. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Chickens do not normally gorge themselves and cause themselves to get 'fat' unless they are meat birds that are driven to eat at an astounding rate. Chickens without proper range and natural foods (grass, greens, bugs, etc) availability need the feeders full and available at all times.

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