Helping a hen gain weight? (Recently Broody)

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ChOOkens, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. ChOOkens

    ChOOkens ►ChOOken In A Box◄

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    Hello Everyone.
    My ISA brown hen was recently broody. That little hen badly wanted to have chicks but it was hard for us to provide everything needed for her to raise chicks. So we tried to break her broodiness. We tried a lot to get her off the nest but she rarely moved. She stayed on there for a while until she actually started eating and drinking more frequently. My ISA brown lost about a third of her weight and it is worrying me a little.

    Is there any method I can use to get her to eat more? I know this is a little on the bahviour side of chickens but I think most is about feeding.
    Are there any foods I can give her to help get her weight back?
    I don't want to make her overweight but just get her back to the weight she was before.

    Thanks. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  2. TheFarmMama

    TheFarmMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm no expert but I know that things like cottage cheese help pack the pounds back on. If you're only feeding the treats in moderation she won't become overweight. My little Sex-link hen gained some winter weight for me by eating scratch and she comes a running when she sees me bring it out to her. Good luck!
     
  3. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Short answer is anything healthy-ish that you find she likes.

    Scrambled eggs (as odd as that sounds!), good grain bread broken up in little bits and drizzled with olive oil (but not too much because of salt content), sunflower seeds (good bird seed mixtures including these - I give this 365 days a year),...Mine also love fruit and veggies; they don't have much caloric content but if it encourages eating....

    JJ

    Edited for unintentionally leaving out the word "bread"
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  4. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wild bird suet is excelent, and don;t hesitate to offer her food in the nest box, particularly if you can clemp a little cup there and one with water, preferably spiked with vitamins.
     
  5. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a similar problem. The only thing our little hen couldn't resist was mealworms, plus bird seed mix that I give to our indoor birds. Once she gave up trying to be broody, she started digging in to her regular rations, too.
     
  6. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Glad you said that. I forgot to mention mealworms; they are a good thing to try! Mine love them.
    JJ
     
  7. ChOOkens

    ChOOkens ►ChOOken In A Box◄

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    Thanks for the help everyone! I am going to feed her a lot of the foods mentioned. She is very rarely on the nest now (still slightly broody?).
    It will be easier to feed her, she scratches around for soem food when she gets out and always eats treats I bring down for her an her buddy.
    I normally feed them veggies and fruits. I don't normally feed the most of the foods mentioned on this thread.
    She was just looking thin, in time I am sure she will get her weight back.
     
  8. crazy huhn

    crazy huhn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Weight can be gained by increasing the protein level of the feed. So if you normally feed a 16 % layer, try to add some flock raiser 20% Protein content. The preferred protein for the weight gain is animal protein, so the meal worms are a great source, but also meat scraps. Some people also offer some dry cat food (please just in moderation) or the old time favourite "Manna Pro".

    Scratch usually will not make her fat. However, whatever you decide to feed her, make sure it does not exceed 5-10% of her daily diet, because you do not want to cause an imbalance in her overall nutrition intake and causing more harm that way.

    Also, make sure she does not have any ectoparasites and endoparasites which will of course interfere with any weight gain as well.

    And last, is she still separated from her girlfriends? If not, she needs her fair share of all the goodies. Sometimes, if a broody goes back in with the rest of the flock, she needs to establish her rang in the pecking order again, which is stressful and causes weight loss as well, simply because the others will not let her back close to the feeder.
     
  9. ChOOkens

    ChOOkens ►ChOOken In A Box◄

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    Thanks for all of the advice. I thought scratch made them fatter but I guess I was wrong.
    I only have 2 hens. The broody one I am trying to fatten up(ISA brown) and an araucana hen.
    My araucana is a small hen with a big appetite, but she just loves my ISA brown and normally shares the treats with her.
    There isn't much of a pecking order between the two, they just hang around eachother.
     
  10. chick-habit

    chick-habit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    6 years after this was written im wondering if this is still conventional knowledge because I don't see how protein will put weight on
     

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