How can you tell if a chicken is fat?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by fowlmood, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. fowlmood

    fowlmood Songster

    Jan 28, 2009
    northern Michigan
    I've been reading through lots of threads and have even done a search on this. (If I need to move this post or there is already an answer somewhere, please direct me to the appropriate spot). Anyway----is there someplace on a chicken that you can feel whether they are too fat or not? I don't think just looking at them is very accurate. There are certain areas on dogs, horses etc. that you look at to see/feel fat build up. On chickens how can you tell? Mine appear happy and are laying great, I'm not worried, just curious I guess. I've never thought of them getting overweight. Although I know this time of year I feel fat and lazy, maybe they do too. [​IMG]

  2. chickensforever

    chickensforever In the Brooder

    Jan 16, 2007
    Bellevue, WA
    You can tell if a chicken is over/underweight by feeling around their keel bone. Hold your chicken on your lap, her head facing away from you, or kneel on the ground or something. Put your hands around her chest area, and the big bone that you feel is the keel bone. The amount of fat around the bone gives you an idea, and you want chickens to have enough fat there to feel full, but not too much. You should definitely be able to feel the bone, but it should not be too "bony." It's a pretty subjective guess, but feel as many of your chickens as you can to get an idea about what average feels like and any big differences can be a red flag for you.
    slukeplass22 and pdirt like this.
  3. fowlmood

    fowlmood Songster

    Jan 28, 2009
    northern Michigan
    Thanks, this is very helpful. I'll give it a try tomorrow so I have some idea of how each of them are doing.[​IMG]
  4. eaganchickens

    eaganchickens Songster

    Sep 21, 2008
    Thanks, I was wondering the same thing!!

  5. Mourningdove

    Mourningdove Songster

    Dec 17, 2008
    Cleveland, Tn.
    I have heard that if a chicken is fat or too fat she won't lay is this true?
  6. Poohbear

    Poohbear On a Time Out

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hold your chicken cradled head first in your left arm and feel right past where the bone ends at the butt (keel bone starts at the breast and ends under the chickens rear or near it) . A fat chicken will feel soft and fluffy while a thin chicken will feel hard. When you buy a whole chicken from the market to cook, look at the insides. They take the ball of fat out but some stays in the chicken. jmo
  7. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    You can also tell by thier clothes getting to small for them.
    quackenboss likes this.

  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:From what I've read here on BYC, that's possible and obesity in hens has been said to contribute to internal laying issues.
    We all like the looks of a fat happy chicken, but IMO being fat is no better for them than it is for humans.
    1 person likes this.
  9. momofdrew

    momofdrew Songster


  10. fowlmood

    fowlmood Songster

    Jan 28, 2009
    northern Michigan
    bsaffles, are you sure their clothes don't shrink in the dryer? That's what's happened to mine.[​IMG]

    Is it the same for all breeds? My buff orpingtons, since they are a hardy mixed breed, should they feel a little more...ahh...plump...shall we say? Does recent molting have an effect on their weight? One of my chickens has just gotten back into laying after putting on her new clothes.

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