help...rescued undernourished chickens

the 'ol coop

8 Years
Aug 31, 2011
I rescued 9 hens and a rooster today that are very undernourished. They are americana's and were a year old this past easter. However, their cones never fully developed and what did is all knotty and they are way smaller than my 6 month old americanas. Been left to roam freely with little to no chicken feed. What can I do to make them healthy?
A couple of options. You can start them on a good layer ration cut with cracked corn (say 50-50 to start, with less corn as they improve). Too much corn makes chickens fat, but an added bit of corn can help them put on weight. You can also give them tidbits of bread (another fattening thing that chickens adore) if they seem uninterested in eating. You could put them on a grower ration, cut with cracked corn (slightly different formula from layer ration). if you use grower then make sure you have some oyster shell out for them. And to make their digestion and absorption easier, I'd put some poultry grit out for awhile. Most importantly, make sure there is ample food (you may consider a flock block even), that there is some variety (occasional bread, pasta, and fruit/veg), and that there is plenty of clean water. Your chickies are out of the woods since you rescued them, and with a proper diet available, they should be healthy and laying for you in no time. Hope this helps!
Welcome to BYC.
Keep the rescued birds away from your birds in case they have diseases or parasites. Quarantine them for 30 days so that you can fully and visually treat them for any problems as necessary. Biosecurity is first and foremost important. You can purchase gamebird feed which is about 22%+ in protein vs 16-18% regular layer feed. You can add poultry nutri drench to their water, it is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Only add about 6 drops per gallon of water for one week then stop, it can cause diarrhea. Once you are depleted from feeding the 50 pound sack of gamebird feed to them, you can switch them to regular layer feed. By that time they should have their strength and maybe some weight put on. I dont recommend adding table scraps nor scratch to their diet. You want to get them back into shape first. Then you might want to consider worming them, this could also be a cause of malnourishment, however they would most likely be acting lethargic and not eating. Check their poop for normal color and consistancy and worms. Here's a link to the poop chart:
Thank you both for replying. The elderly lady I got them from said they are laying good. I don't see how as small and thin as they are. They look to be the size of bantums (sp). I feed my chickens laying pellets and cracked corn. I didn't think about, nor had room to put them by themselves, so they are with my others, hopefully none of them are sick. However, when they saw the food, they ran over and ate it all in no time.

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