Fattening a chicken up?

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Premium Feather Member
16 Years
Jan 18, 2008
SE Massachusetts
So I have a couple chickens that are pretty small but one in particular is really small and kinda runty. Could just be genetics of course? All 3 of the Orps aren't very big. But anyway, I'd like to try to put some weight on her and fatten her up some if possible. What's the best way to do that?

I also have a cat I'm wondering the same about. She's not really skinny, weighed 9 pounds 11 ounces at the vet in February and she is a tiny cat, but I just feel like she could gain some weight, either fat or muscle. I don't want to give her a can that much cause our last cat his teeth rotted :(

It's understandable if you only want to or can answer the chicken part cause i put it in this part of the forum
Have you talked to the vet about the cats body condition? Often or perception of what they should weigh or how they should look is out of sync with the optimal condition (my husband is one who constantly feels or animals are too thin when they are actually right in the optional condition for age/species, but once I met his family's pets that made sense because he grew up in a household where pets are routinely in the morbidly obese condition, that is his frame of reference for normal. .....). If the vet ages that kitty could use some body mass they can also help with a nutritional plan to get her there in a healthy way as you don't want to just up this or that without keeping everything else in a healthy balance. How old is the cat, how active and what are you currently feeding?

Regarding the birds....have you ruled out underlying caused such as parasites, health conditions, etc? Are the birds being kept from food by dominant flock members? What feed are you currently using? All the above being determined not an issue, a first step to adding body condition is a higher protein feed....so if you are feeding a 14 or 16% layer, for example, you could switch to a20% grower, a conditioning feed for show or breeding stock, mix in some higher protein meat bird feed, etc. Again, though, you have to be mindful of maintaining overall balance. Also, you want to familiarize yourself with optional body condition and be sure you are perceiving an issue that is not actually thete. ....fattening a bird, or any animal, is not the same as building body condition, the former is inhealthy, the latter a goal.
Thanks a lot! This is really helpful :)

I haven't talked to the vet and truthfully hadn't even thought to do that haha

She's probably not too thin, maybe even a little chunky (though she doesnt look it at all) and the vet didn't say anything either way when she went so I don't know. When we got her spayed at a mobile clinic they said she was a little thin and I guess I haven't forgotten that but that was when she was almost 3 and she's now 6, turning 7 in August. So probably not true anymore. But she's just so small, I don't know.

She's turning 7 in August and she's not very active at all but then again she does follow me around sometimes/walk around the house so I don't know haha but she's not like crazy running playing or anything though she does get bursts of energy. She's eating Nutrisca chicken right now. It's grain free. Although we do switch brands/try lots but she tskes a while to go through a bag so it's not monthly or anything. But she's been getting grain free for maybe a year or two. She has no problems switching foods but the last one, which we still have, she didn't like. Wet food I just buy whatever but always grain free

As for the chickens, I don't think they're sick but they also don't really free range and the current run is a little too small. But they all act healthy and are laying and i clean it a lot. I think some might be starting to develop leg mites though so I'm gonna take care of that.

I don't think any chickens are keeping her away because i haven't seen that behavior but maybe they did when she was younger? The others are large though so I don't think it's disease?

I was feeding Nutrena NatureWise Hearty Hen which is an 18% layer feed but my feed store isn't going to carry it anymore so now I feed Production Plus by Poulin Grain which is just as good or better and also 18%, soy free etc. Although they gave me the wrong feed the other day because I didn't specify so they're on Poulin Grains layer pellets 16.5% protein.

For winter they were on Purina Flock Raiser since they weren't laying.

I think I have some supplements I bought at TSC a while ago and never used. I'll get pictures when I get home and see if I can use any of it?

And yeah, improving body condition is probably what I want to do.

And my dad is one of those types haha he always thinks the dog is too skinny or feels a rib and freaks. You're supposed to be able to feel the last one or few haha

Although this time he is right. Dog HATED his food and I tried to force him to eat it for 2 weeks and he starved himself. :( would take a bite or two so he didn't starve but very begrudgingly and at first, he wouldn't even do that. And no, we didn't abuse him or let him starve himself. We ended up feeding him other stuff. Like we had to feed him some canned food and/or eggs or mix some burger, etc. On it so he would eat something and not starve. And his food is always free choice so he could have eaten at any time. But I felt terrible, my thinking was he is just being a brat because he had tried something he liked better so I was going to practice "tough love", this is all you have so eat it or don't type thing and tried to get my dad to NOT feed him anything else so he would be hungry and would have to eat it because we bought the bag and he is "spoiled." But darn it, in my stubbornness, he dropped weight :( and if my dad HADN'T been feeding him, he probably would have lost more weight or been in even worse shape. :(

Never again. From now on, if they don't like it, I am going to LISTEN and get them some different food.

And I finally did cave and buy him new food the other day and he LOVES it and has resumed eating.

But enough rambling haha

I don't think the pets (including chickens) are sick but I will check to be sure and then try your tips.

And now that the dog has actually been eating he has way more energy and is doing better.

Does it make me a terrible owner for trying to get him to eat the food we had bought? It was somewhat expensive too but also, I didn't mean for it to go on so long. I really genuinely thought he would start eating after a few days. Didn't think he would be so stubborn as to go on so long :/

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