I think I have been overfeeding my hens?


Feb 25, 2017
North Central Ohio
Good day everyone,

I hope I am not starting a redundant thread but I searched and couldn't find the info I am seeking. I am looking for advice on feeding my hens. I have recently lost two of my girls, one yesterday who died in my arms, and another one about a month ago who I found in the morning dead up on the roost. Both girls were acting fine, foraging for food, came running up to me when they saw me, etc. the day they died. The one who died during the night seemed absolutely fine the evening before when I went to check on them for the night. The one who died yesterday was acting totally fine, she was free ranging all day with her sisters, laid her daily egg, was eating out of the feeder while I was cleaning the coop. We went out for a couple of hours and when we returned home, I found her next to the shed, kind of leaning on it and very lethargic. The temps were in the low 40s so immediately brought her inside the house but she died in my arms a few minutes later. :hit It happened so quickly...I found no wounds, mites, or obstruction inside her vent. One of the BYC members on another thread suggested my hen could have died from fatty liver syndrome. Now I that am worried that perhaps I have been giving my girls too many treats. I am aware of the 5% treats rule but I guess I just thought that I wasn't overdoing it because they seemed happy, were laying eggs daily, and spent a lot of their time foraging in the pasture. However they do look bigger than the stock photos of their various breeds on the hatchery website. The girls have ~ 1.5 acres to free range on so I don't think lack of exercise is an issue. During the winter, I would scatter scratch, mealworms, and BOSS inside of the run almost every day, in addition to their layer feed, which the 12-lb feeder never runs empty and they have access to it 24/7. I would also give them oatmeal with blueberries a couple of times a week and some Cheerios a few days a week. They also had access to chick starter because I had made the switch from crumble to pellets and they turned their beaks up to the pellets for a couple of days so I gave them some of that so they wouldn't go hungry. Since the weather started to turn springlike a few weeks back, I had really cut back on the scratch, mealworms and BOSS, giving it to them 1-2 times a week since there were more edibles for them to find while free ranging. There is a seeded flock block in their run but they don't seem to interested in it. So, I guess my question is how often (if at all) should I be giving them scratch, BOSS, mealworms, Cheerios/Crispix, blueberries? I should also mention that there is a rhubarb plant that was there when we moved in and has just started emerging from winter dormancy; it will be dug up as soon as I get home from work as I have just learned that this plant is toxic. I am not sure if my hen that died yesterday ate any of it or not. My apologies for the long-winded post but I wanted to give as much info as possible. I am very worried that I am going to lose more of my girls...I started with 7 hens who were born on Easter 2017, lost one in September to a hawk as well as the two I mentioned above, so now I am down to four hens. I have already ordered four more chicks in December but they won't be hatching until June. Any advice/input would be greatly appreciated!

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom