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  1. 3chickenfriends

    3chickenfriends In the Brooder

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    Jul 1, 2016
    Hey BYC,

    Around the beginning to mid May, my only chicken, a 3 year old barred rock Martha, became broody. We decided to order fertilized eggs for her to hatch resulting in two chicks mid June. Almost two weeks ago I noticed Marthas comb want the deep red and straight up as it usually was. I noticed her eating less and losing many feathers, I picked her up and was able to feel the bone beneath her (breast bone?). I've never been able to feel it before and in all previous times when my hen had lost weight, they were disease ridden and died. I checked her for mites and lice and went through her poop in search of worms and didn't find anything. Her poop is brown which I am thankful for. She is very active and friendly with no since of lethargy. I declared her to be molting from the stress of the chicks being present. I noticed her comb has reddened up a bit and is semi straighter. Every morning I dampen chick starter since the chicks cannot have layer pellets and mix something into it like yogurt, granite grit, black oil sunflowers, cinnamon, black pepper, blueberries, a boiled egg etc. so she can eat and get the protein needed for her to gain weight and regrow her feathers. Today I picked her up and she didn't feel any heavier if anything, her bone felt more apparent. I just can't lose her especially since the chicks are so reliant on her. I'm willing to try anything. There aren't vets in my area accepting poultry and the nearest tractor supply is nearly an hour and a half away. What should I be giving her? Any help is appreciated:).

    Thanks,
    3ChickenFriends
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

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    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Generally broody hens lose some weight setting and than tending to her chicks. You could add in some treats like scrambled eggs for extra protein, and corn and black oil sunflower seeds for extra fat to help her regain her condition. Generally if a chicken is acting normally it's okay.

    After writing that I see you are feeding her eggs and boss. Give her time, she's devoting lots of energy to her chicks.

    Combs are used as a visual sign to roosters as to whether a hen is fertile and laying. A bright red comb signifies she is fertile. When they aren't fertile the comb shrinks down and loses color.

    It's normal for a hen to molt after being broody. Not all do it, but it happens. It is getting late in the season, and I am seeing the beginnings of the fall molt in my flock, so that's a possibility too.
     
    Wyorp Rock and 3chickenfriends like this.
  3. 3chickenfriends

    3chickenfriends In the Brooder

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    Jul 1, 2016
    Thank you so much for getting back to me! How often should I be giving her these sources of protein? And is it normal she doesn't want to eat her regular layer food?

    Thanks again,
    3ChickenFriends
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    26,282
    24,570
    932
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    As she's not laying she probably doesn't want a layer ration if given the choice, and will crave the higher protein of the chick starter. I would just switch everyone over to a non medicated starter grower and provide a separate bowl of oyster shells for the extra calcium. I don't feed layer anymore, either the starter or an All flock is good year round for all poultry.

    I generally give out eggs once a day and some scratch, cracked corn and boss mixed together, twice a day, I scatter a handful, on the ground for them to scratch and peck it up. The ration is available at all times.
     
    Wyorp Rock likes this.

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