Hen is Excessive Eating

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JanineACSS, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. JanineACSS

    JanineACSS Hatching

    Dec 18, 2013
    Adelaide, South Australia
    My 9 or 10 month old Barnvelder who has started laying within the last month or so has always been a little strange. She is my only Barnvelder out of my 11 chickens, so I don't know if this is a stress behaviour or not.

    Almost every afternoon (but not exclusively) she will go binge eating. Its so excessive; a few hours of it. I can hear her scratching on the base plate of the tredal feeder as she pecks, so know when she is there again.

    She is not overweight at all. I can bearly catch her, she is so flighty. Not at all friendly.
    She's had a couple of weird shelled eggs lately - very dusty and mottled.
    She is at the very bottom of the pecking order.

    My vet has never hear of such a thing before. She theorizes that it might be a gland issue.

    I finally caught her yesterday and locked her in one shed on her own with some crushed grain mixed with a vitamin supplement powder. Of course she was delighted to have a go at that too, but there must be something that she is lacking.

    Looking at her physically, she is not the prettiest Barnvelder, nor the brightest.

    Has anyone got any theories or heard of this behaviour before?


  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member 9 Years

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Since she is at the low end of the pecking order, is it possible that the flock is keeping her away from the feeder limiting the times that she is able to eat?
  3. JanineACSS

    JanineACSS Hatching

    Dec 18, 2013
    Adelaide, South Australia
    I've already considered her pecking order position, but she gets what she can. My hens get plenty of food opportunities compared to many other backyards I've tended to as a chicken pet sitter. So she gets enough for her size.

    Pellets which are protein balanced are in their feeder all day. Fresh veg scraps, yoghurt, meal worms, crushed grains and scatter grains are given at other times. I occasionally give Livamol as a vitamin supplement no more than 3 times a week.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    If the pellets are balanced they should have all the vitamins she needs.

    What is the protein level of the pellets? How much other foods are you giving, might be diluting the protein and she needs more now that she's laying.

    I like to feed an 'all flock' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat and have calcium available at all times for the layers, oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    The higher protein crumble offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer.

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