my hens are thin

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cindydj, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. cindydj

    cindydj Songster

    Jan 16, 2007
    While dusting my hens this evening I noticed they sure seem thin and light. They free range and have access to food and water all day. They have not been eating alot I have noticed there may even been cracked corn or scratch left over. They receive that along with layer crumbles dailey...Any suggestions, I feel horrible!
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Some of your birds may be naturally skinny. Don't give them too much cracked corn as that will be eaten first and they won't get the nutritoin needed to grow good meat on them from their layer pellets. As for weight, I know my leghorns are 3-4 lbs while my heavier birds are 6-7 lbs each. Just keep free choice layer and water out and they will be fine. None will feel like that monster store chicken you get in plastic wrap.

    Also, you should be able to feel their keel and at night when they go to bed, make sure their crops have food in it. As long as their poo looks normal, they should be good.
  3. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    I'd try cutting way down the amount of corn or scratch and feed layer feed.
  4. chicknmania

    chicknmania Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Ours are free range and they are always a little lighter than birds in a coop; just cause they run more, obviously. Ours lost some weight in the fall when their forage wasn't so good; I made a point of giving them more scraps, and we started them on layer and kelp once in a while. They have picked up weight, and look good. Also, when they're molting they'll lose some weight.
  5. Pinenot

    Pinenot Songster

    Sep 11, 2007
    If your really could give them some oatmeal too:)
  6. cindydj

    cindydj Songster

    Jan 16, 2007
    They are free range and I coop them at night. Their breastbone is so sharp. That is why I am a little worried. Their poo is good. When I give them layer crumbles they don't seem to eat much, that is why I started giving them more scratch. I wondered about worms. I never worm them or give them any medications. I have not seen any worms in their poo.........
  7. HenHaven

    HenHaven Songster

    Mar 3, 2007
    Coarsegold, CA
    I noticed an interesting thing last spring. I was always concerned because I read that the keel bone shouldn't feel excessively prominent--but it was on my girls! I free range and have layer ration available at all times. When I had my EE go broody, I kept her in an enclosed pen for her protection. She didn't eat a lot, but she was sitting on eggs and confined. She fattened up real quick! So I think that the exercise they get when free ranging burns a lot of calories and keeps their weight down a bit. So, long story short: I quit worrying! [​IMG]
  8. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    We all do things a bit differently, but if our chickens are healthy, that's really all that matters.

    Mine free range and have access to water and layer pellets all the time as well. I'm also giving them some scratch and good healthy snacks at times - sunflower chips, raisins, oatmeal, tomatoes, sprouts. The snacks add variety to their diet and they also seem to have filled out the gals a bit more, which I think is good during wintertime. I'm in NY and it's very cold here. Tonight single digits. [​IMG] Tough on the gals
  9. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    low-level/sublevel mycotoxin challenge (thinking here on possible scratch grains missed and which can develop this quickly) might be involved... it is an insidious problem and there is much written on it in the industry literature. It causes malabsorption of nutrients ...
    Try adding a good supplement to their feed (in addition to cutting back on the amount of scratch you dole out which will dilute the nutrition from their feed) ... AviaCharge 2000 is a complete supplement (also suitable for Organic Certified) and can be ordered online from McMurray Hatchery or Strombergs and can be mixed in with their feed or water .
  10. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    not all parasites can be seen..and if they free's possible they could have worms.
    you can take a fecal sample to a vet for testing.
    then you would know if they are wormy and what kind of worms they have.

    also..check well for mites..including the skin and shafts.
    are they active and alert?
    are they laying?
    describe the droppings (color and consistency).

    I agree with the others..cut back on scratch.
    consider it a candy treat to give a handful of at roost time.

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