Excessive fat on a hen?


11 Years
Nov 15, 2008
I caught one of my hens munching on an egg yesterday

I had my husband cull her before the others caught on to what she was doing (and have been watching them all like a hawk!) and when we were processing her we found TONS of yellow fat!
She was a young naked neck hen, only about 22 weeks old. I had 4 NN hens and all of them are rather large girls.
I've been feeding flock raiser for the winter months, keeping the feeder full, oyster shell, and tossing 1 cup of cracked corn to all of them each morning and night (there are 16 large birds in the coop/run, so 2c of corn per day total). They get let out to free-range 4-5 days a week for about 2 hours in the evening. I don't think what I've been feeding is excessive, but there was sooo much fat on this girl
Is that normal? It's the first time I've ever assisted in processing a bird, and my husband was shocked at all of the fat, too.

Do I need to cut back on corn or feed? All of the others in the coop are not FAT, but I want them to be able to withstand the cold this winter and keep them in good shape. When I pick the rest of them up they all feel to be a decent weight. Is the fat normal?


Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
Good question. I don't know.

I feed mine 16% layer with kitchen and garden scraps, not an especially high protein diet but certanly within the norms suggested by people I deem responsible on this forum. My Austalorps had a huge amount of internal fat, especially in the vent area but also on internal organs. The Orpingtons were also pretty fat but not quite as bad. The Sussex and Delaware less fat, actually not too bad. I suspect it is a strain thing more than a breed, but I don't know. I got mine from Cackle.

I did have an Australorp die in the coop. She may have injured herself flying down from the roost or she may have died from fatty liver syndrome. Since I cannot tell how fat they are by looking at them and some are not too fat, I decided to not worry about it. I don't know what I would do about it anyway when some are fine. The Australorp and Orpingtons aremy better winter layers. I don't know if the fat has anything to do with that or not.

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