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  1. RickMiller

    RickMiller Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 7, 2009
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    We just got 7 new hens in the spring to add to the two existing hens. All are healthy, doing well, and starting to lay. The three Barred Plymouth Rocks we got have developed into what you would call "healthy" girls if you were trying to be polite. One of them though, Florida, is downright fat. She is in with the rest of the flock; they all get the same feed. I am sparing with the scratch, they get a lot of veggies from the garden, get to free range for a couple of hours every evening and on weekends but this one chicken is huge. She has started to not walk around as much and when out of the run with the others she spends more time lying around. She still makes it up on the perch at night but she is definitely a little lethargic.

    My question is, is this more common in the Barred Rocks? Could it be another health issue causing the weight gain? All the others seem fine and Florida even seems fine aside from the weight. Any suggestions on how to fix this?
     
  2. Tiss

    Tiss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2010
    Georgia
    My BR's look pleasantly plump compared to my other hens. Is Florida laying? I had a BO who looked plump because she was internally laying.

    Maybe you can let the others out in the run in the morning to eat and leave Florida in the coop until the others have had their fill?
     
  3. RickMiller

    RickMiller Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 7, 2009
    Wayside
    I believe she is laying. All three of the Barred Rocks have started laying but the eggs are much smaller than I was expecting. I don't know if that is because they are such big girls or if they will get bigger as they get going.
     
  4. Tiss

    Tiss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2010
    Georgia
    My two BR's lay little eggs. I was so disappointed. The girls have cankles and are bossy things. [​IMG]
     
  5. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 30, 2011
    My beautiful Barred Rock seemed fat to me, too. I tried putting her on a diet, but she laid a funny egg that made me worry she wasn't getting the proper nutrition, so I put her back on free choice. She seemed to be healthy and happy, but the day I left on vacation, August 25, she died. I suspect she had fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome. She was bigger than her sister from the start, as a little chick. She loved to eat sweet treats such as berries and watermelon, more than her sister who likes feed and melon seeds.

    Signs of fatty hemorrhagic liver syndrome: Breast picking (my late sweet hen had this-- I had assumed she was feathering her nest as she was a broody girl, but now I think it was the disease). Their toenails are longer than normal. My girls' were.

    I think the heat did her in, in combo with this disease. It was 98F the day I went on vacation. I had left her in her run and coop which have shade, but prior to that all summer long I'd let her out in the early afternoon so she could get deep shade under the woodpile. Had she been in that deep shade that day, I think she'd still be alive. I could kick myself for leaving to cool off while she died in the heat.

    Good luck with your girl.
     
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    It is very unusual to read about anyone saying their hen is too fat. I would look for an underlying problem with the abdomen as clarescifi said. Layers usually self-regulate their diet pretty well.

    You can check the keel (the vertical bony thing in the front of the chicken- their chest area). It should be not sunken in and you should be able to feel some "meat on her bones" on either side of the keel.

    Fat would be I guess (since I have never seen it) VERY rotund around the keel?

    The other thing to think of would be conditions making her lethargic such as worms (although weight loss is associated with it) or mites/lice.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  7. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have read that it is the broiler type chickens that are the ones that get too fat and get the fatty liver syndrome and die young, and Barred Rocks fall within that category.

    When I first got my chickens I picked up a guide to raising chickens and it stated to be very careful about giving chickens scratch to eat, because it makes them too fat, and a fat chicken is prone to have a heart attack.

    Barred rocks are supposed to eat about 6 oz. or maybe a little more of chicken feed a day. With free choice, I think mine were eating a bit more than that. I tried to put them on a diet, but then one laid the funny egg and I was afraid I'd messed things up for them, diet-wise, so I went back to free choice.

    My neighbor commented that my Barred Rocks were quite a bit fatter than her son's Barred Rocks. Did you see the photos of my Barred Rocks? I"ll try to find them and post them here.
     
  8. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here is the photo of my 2 Barred Rocks that I posted in the spring, when I was worried that they might be too fat. The one who recently died is in the foreground. I can tell because she was broody, and you can see that her legs are the most orange in color:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/84553_dsc00742.jpg

    Oh, how she enjoyed her short little life!

    Clare
     
  9. Uniontown Poultry

    Uniontown Poultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Fat Hen Sympathy!! I have a fat mutt EE hen named "Freeloader" who is fat and lays around all the time. She was the leftover at the end of a swap, the bird that no one wanted, and I am a sucker for that. She sleeps on the droppings board under the roost (I can't get her to roost) and she has done that for the past 3 years. I never see her in the nest box, but once in awhile find a thin-shelled egg on the droppings board. I saw her lay an egg once at a show 2 years ago. Freeloader also likes to lay down in the yard, kind of stretched our near the fence (NOT in a sunbathing posture - just laying there like a slug!) Freeloader spends so much time sitting on my back porch that her feathers are in every corner. I have given Freeloader the once-over, and she looks ok. Her legs are temptingly meaty and strong, she is heavy like my cochin, probably at least 7 lbs. Her keel is not bony, but not very plump either, and her abdomen feels the same as my other layers, there's just, well, MORE of it. Her wings are powerful, as she flaps them in my face while I try and give her a health check. Freeloader does not like being handled, even though I cured the horrible case of scaley leg she had when I got her (so bad some scales never regrew). She is not nice, or friendly, and will not take food from your hand unless it appears to her that the other hens will get it all if she does not. She is, above all, totally ungrateful. [​IMG]

    She is pretty to look at, and her head is winter-proof (she has no wattles or comb, but strangely no muff either). She doesn't fight with the others, has a healthy appetite, and occasionally does that running-with-food thing that chickens do that I find so engaging. From the day I got her I expected her to drop dead, and since she's fat and relatively inactive, and rarely lays, I kept thinking it would be sooner than later. I got her 4 years ago, and she hasn't really changed. She just keeps on, keepin' on, eating my food and pooping on my back porch and not giving me eggs...

    Your girl may just be a big girl. Rocks do have the capacity to get to 7lbs or more, even the hens. The lethargy's the problematic thing. It could be that she might have injured her joints or feet getting up onto or hopping down from the roost, and a lower roost or a ramp or step-up system might be easier on her joints and feet. She could be prone to a fatty liver, or something else entirely. One idea - you can weigh her & compare that to the other BR's & see how bad the one girl is, and compare her to the standard for BR's.

    How old is she, anyway?
     
  10. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My fat girl who died was never lethargic. But I think she was prone to heat stroke. I had seen her panting much harder than her sister all summer long, in the heat of the day. But once the day cooled, she was full of energy and fun. Too bad I wasn't there that day she died to coax her into the deep shade. I feel certain that would have saved her life. I hate the heat. I had looked at the weather forecasts, and it wasn't supposed to get that hot that fateful day.
     

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