Giving hens a dietary "pick me up"

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by deacons, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. deacons

    deacons Songster

    Oct 8, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Like so many others, we've suffered through about 3 weeks of almost unbearable weather. I think it's finally starting to take it's toll on my group of 8 hens (ranging in age from about 9 months to about 1.5 years). During the deepest of the freeze (single digit weather), their routine was thrown off as I put them in my garage during the day to protect them a bit from the elements (no heat, but kept them dry and out of the snow). A few had frostbite, but the combs are starting to heal (minus a few tips that are gone for good!), as we finally have temps back to normal (high 30s during the day, 20s overnight).

    However, a few combs and wattles are a little pinker than I'd like to see, not the bright, healthy red I'm used to seeing. A few have feathers that look a little dull and tattered, rather than glossy and shiny. Laying is falling off a bit (which is fine, as they're pets more than production, but I take this as a sign that health is not as strong as it was). I know this has been a huge stress to their system, but was wondering if anyone did anything dietary to give their girls a little "boost" after coming through something stressful.

    In terms of diet, this is how they're fed:
    -In the morning, they get about a cup of rice/corn/vegetables with 1 tsp of dry probiotic (Probios) mixed in
    -They get some kind of green leafy vegetable daily
    -They have free choice high quality layer pellets and always have fresh, unfrozen water
    -Free choice oyster shell and grit
    -Depending on the temp, they'll get some scratch & BOSS as a treat
    -The last few (warmer) days, they've gotten about 1-2 hours of free ranging, and the snow is melting back so there actually is some foraging of grass and other green stuff

    Anything you'd recommend that might help perk their little systems back up and get some good color back in their combs?
  2. kelseyc

    kelseyc In the Brooder

    Jan 13, 2014
    WOW! they are living the good life! But the feathers looking dull and falling off are happening to us here too. I believe this is due to the weather, nothing we can do until they molt and look pretty again. My chickens are looking really shabby, they do not enjoy 20 below weather! I do know when I brought home my girls 2 springs ago, to perk them up the hatchery suggested to add 1 tablespoon of SUGAR per gallon in their water. I thought it worked! You might give that a try even though they are a little older. Hope they begin to cheer up! [​IMG]
  3. deacons

    deacons Songster

    Oct 8, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Ha! I know it seems like they are spoiled, I try not to overdo it with treats and such, and keep it to fresh fruits and veggies as much as I can. It's just so hard in the winter!
  4. mrballance

    mrballance Chirping

    Jul 20, 2013
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I give mine table scraps that include protein and fat. They are a little stressed because of the below zero temps we have had.

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