fattening my hens for winter

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jenschix, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. jenschix

    jenschix Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 25, 2013
    OK.. so i'm new here but not really new to wintering chickens in Minnesota. 3 years wintering chix but this year I am concerned

    Yesterday I had my 6 roosters butchered, I'm sure my 8 remaining hens and 1 rooster are thankful. What is the best way to fatten up my hens to survive the winter. They have lots of feathers missing from all the roosters attention. The coop is set up for indoor food, water and a heat lamp when the weather gets really cold. Advice to get them full of feathers and mourn the loss of their big "tough as a boiled owl" boyfriend?
     
  2. chickyfuzz

    chickyfuzz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 6, 2013
    You could try wheat or canola. I think that works.
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Internal fat buildup isn't all that healthy and it is easy to make a chicken fat. What you might want to consider is muscle. The feathering needs to be restored and fat (from excessive carbs) isn't going to speed feather production.

    Protein builds both feathers and muscle. During a moult or to repair feathering, a high protein feed can really make a huge difference. Try feeding a 20-22 percent protein, preferably with some animal protein content, for the next few months.
     
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  4. jmandawn

    jmandawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with Fred. You may also want to consider feeding fermented food as this will also be a good "high energy" feed that will lower your costs and increase the health of your birds at the same time. You can ferment the 20-22% food in with the grain to add an extra punch to it also.
     
  5. jenschix

    jenschix Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 25, 2013
    I guess "fattening them up" wasn't the best way to phrase my concerns. I have a healthy fat layer but am still chilled to the bone with 30 degree temps. I'm stopping at the feed store tomorrow and will see if they carry high protein food...pretty sure they do.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    But then again, you don't have a down coat and feathers! Chickens are designed to survive outdoors with minimal protection. Humans aren't. Just sayin'.

    Higher protein feed will be good--I also have some hens that had overly attentive roosters and/or were molting. Roosters dispatched about 2 weeks ago, and feathers are growing back nicely at this time.
     
  7. jenschix

    jenschix Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 25, 2013
    Well my hens have had a week without all the roosters and feathers are coming in quickly. I bought higher protein food - which they totally love.I gradually mixed it with the rest of the food I already had. It took them 5 days to get over the trauma of witnessing the roosters being dispatched and are now running around the yard as usual. Thanks for the advice.

    Side note I have one rooster that is a mix and one that is (i think) and cochin bantom. Sweet little guy that has now found he rules the roost without all the rest of the guys around. He is the only reason I am wintering my chix again...just too cute and tiny to eat.
     

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