Is weight an accurate indicator of whether hens are fat or not?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SCOUT123, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. SCOUT123

    SCOUT123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    216
    2
    91
    Apr 25, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    How much are 7-month-old RIR pullets supposed to weigh? Mine weigh around 5-6 pounds. How do you tell if a chicken is fat? I can definitely feel their keel bone, but I'm just wondering to be on the safe side. Thanks!
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    21,533
    5,010
    421
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Fat deposits in chickens are usually found at the base of the tail and vent region. You are supposed to feel the keel bone in most breeds. 5 to 6 pounds is fairly average for hatchery sourced RIRs.
    If a chicken is healthy and active and properly fed, it's not likely to be ever be overweight. However, weight can be an issue if you like to feed lots of goodies to your flock, and they are confined to a small run. Overweight birds can develop laying problems.
    Your girls have just reached maturity. Prior to that, all of the energy and excess calories were being burned on growth and development. Now that they are laying, you may have noticed a drop in how much feed they are going through. This is because chickens are actually very good at managing their calorie needs. They do not overeat when fed primarily feed.
     
  3. SCOUT123

    SCOUT123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    216
    2
    91
    Apr 25, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    Is it a problem that i can't really feel the pubic bones anymore in one of my hens?
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    21,533
    5,010
    421
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    You should be able to feel them, but they should not be prominent. There is a lot of fluff in that region.
    As long as they are active, and treats are kept to minimum, you should not have any weight issues.
     
  5. SCOUT123

    SCOUT123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    216
    2
    91
    Apr 25, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    I mostly feed them vegetables with the occasional 5-6 raisins per 2 birds/handful of rice/handful of oatmeal/ear of corn.
    I make them run for each treat and sometimes jump.
     
  6. SCOUT123

    SCOUT123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    216
    2
    91
    Apr 25, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    I feed them treats in the morning, afternoon, evening, and sometimes in between. Again they're mostly vegetables with the occasional "good thing" in between, and they have access to the whole yard to run around. It's funny because I have two hens, and one hen is surprisingly skinny and the other is a little... fluffy? They both weigh within less than or around an ounce or two of each other, with the "fluffier" one weighing more. The keel bone and pubic bones are prominent in the skinny one. In the fluffier one, the keel bone is also obvious but not quite as prominent, and I can't really feel the pubic bones at all. Is this a problem? (The fluffier one definitely has more feathers, like actual feathers, not fat, compared to the other)
     
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    21,533
    5,010
    421
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Different breeds have different builds, and different amounts of feathering. Completely normal. As for treats, the general rule is no more than 10% of their overall diet. Any more than that, and you can unbalance their diet and they may develop some protein deficiency related behaviors like egg eating or feather picking.
     
  8. SCOUT123

    SCOUT123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    216
    2
    91
    Apr 25, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    But they're both RIRs..
     
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    21,533
    5,010
    421
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Hatchery sourced?
     
  10. SCOUT123

    SCOUT123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    216
    2
    91
    Apr 25, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    From the feed store.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by