Feeding a thin broody hen

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by freddiethedog, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. freddiethedog

    freddiethedog Out Of The Brooder

    24
    0
    24
    Mar 15, 2016
    I have an ISA brown who has gone broody. I made a gruel of cooked rice, barley, scratch grain, flax oil, wheat germ, raisins, black oil sunflower seeds and normal feed. I blended this into a thin slurry I can feed her with a squeeze bottle, just squeezing a bit on her tongue at a time. I gave her about 2 tablespoons today. How often would you suggest I feed her and how much per day/feeding is a good idea? It is winter here and I want her to have energy to keep warm and healthy. Thanks in advance. (The majority of the slurry is her normal feed).She has lost quite a bit of weight and is not interested in eating anything.

    Oh, and she is back out with the flock, but just dazed in behavior.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy freddiethedog

    Just my opinion but I wonder if your hen is not actually broody but unwell or egg bound?

    Even my most dedicated broodies who did not get the memo that ‘hens take a break at least once or twice a day to have something to eat and drink’ and need to be physically removed from nest, eat and drink when they are having a break and do not need to be fed.

    How long has she been broody? Is she sitting on fertile eggs that you are expecting to hatch?
     
  3. freddiethedog

    freddiethedog Out Of The Brooder

    24
    0
    24
    Mar 15, 2016
    I would say she has been broody for 5ish days. I thought I was just catching her at a bad time when I would do my AM turnout as she was in the box. I physically put her out with the rest of the girls and she didn't try to get back in the box. Last night at PM check she was on the roost with the rest. She had been in the box the previous night, but I just thought she might be cold and it was warmer in there. My brain wasn't even in problem behavior mode, but in retrospect, that should have been a red flag.

    I have been down an egg, but didn't think too much about that as it is winter, but you have me thinking I should look into what the symptoms of being egg bound are. She has perked up today, a few hours after her first feeding.

    I am going to do some research into your suggestions and thank you for putting them out there. This is my first time with chickens so I really appreciate your expertise and advice.

    Oh and I have only hens, so no fertilized ones. I missed collecting for a day so yesterday when I evicted her there were several in the box.

    *update: I just looked up the egg bound symptoms and will give her an exam as the post described.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
  4. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hey Freddie your welcome!

    I am definitely not an expert when it comes to what ails chickens but, having 5 broody prone bantams, I have had extensive experience with broody girls [​IMG]

    She may be semi broody or in the early stages of going broody but I am leaning more towards an issue or illness, especially if she is not eating as much as usual.

    Egg binding is a possibility and your research into that should give you more symptoms and signs to look for.

    Other possible reasons could be bullying, that can cause a hen to ‘hide’ out in the nest box and not roost.

    I hope you are able to rule out anything unpleasant and she is just ‘going through a phase’ [​IMG]
     
  5. freddiethedog

    freddiethedog Out Of The Brooder

    24
    0
    24
    Mar 15, 2016
    Thanks for the advice and suggestion. I don't think bullying is an issue as the crew is getting along just fine. I just did a check of the vent, up to my index finger knuckle and didn't feel anything. So far she hasn't been making any straining moves or any cries, so hopefully she is just brood-ish. She did take one little drink of water so that was good to see.

    Going to keep an eye on her, give her another feed in the AM if she still seems lethargic. I've added a flock saver type supplement to the water and I do have oregano essential oil, a few drops in a second waterer.

    They do have oyster shell and alfalfa hay at all times and I do feed a layer pellet food and I do add in baked/ground egg shells back to the feed as a top dressing.

    I hope she is alright as she is my most precocious girl and is always up in our business being a delightful pest when she is herself. She is a total character.
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    21,774
    5,420
    441
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Put her in an elevated wire cage with food and water. If she's broody, she will break in about three days. If she's ill, well, she's now separated and you can better monitor her. Just give her unmedicated starter feed, and add vitamins and electrolytes to her water. This will provide the best overall nutrition, rather than then giving her an unbalanced mix of treats. You can do more harm than good with your homemade gruel.
     
  7. freddiethedog

    freddiethedog Out Of The Brooder

    24
    0
    24
    Mar 15, 2016
    Great advice. I will do. Thank you.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by