My stupidity has killed one chicken and I need some fast advice

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by deedles, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. deedles

    deedles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Long story short:

    Stupidly, I thought eggshell served as grit. I was feeding a finely ground feed up to about a month ago when I switched to an organic blend, much more rough and grainy. My 6 chickens have been acting really hungry lately, I've been going through this new feed at twice the rate and the dog has been eating the turds, I'm guessing because it's full of chicken feed. He never did that before.

    Today, our favorite chicken, Nugget, was found dead by my daughter. Nothing wrong, no crop impaction, no egg stuck. My husband says she's really skinny. I look at the rest, THEY are noticeably skinnier, too. I think the lack of grit has made this larger feed hard for them to get any nutrition out of and they've been basically starved by my ignorance. I could cry.

    Now, however, we are getting grit but I have 5 chickens that are in serious need of fast calories. I gave them some feed that I whizzed in the blender along with some blended up liver and some organic coconut oil. We have a light on in the coop to help them stay warm... what else can I do??

    I'm so sorry, I really love those birds. Any help would be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2009
  2. deedles

    deedles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, one other thing: they are laying nice eggs and have actually really increased their production the last week.. I got 5 eggs a day for 3 days out of 6 girls, today there was 4, so they are laying still.

    Is there hope for the rest or have I stressed my girls past recovery?
     
  3. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Did they eat the grit? I'm no expert, but I would feed some "soft" foods that don't need grit, such as: hard-boil some eggs and feed it back to them, especially yolks (but whites are good too).

    The liver is good. I've read in an old chicken care book that they feed chopped up raw liver (chopped very small). I fed mine raw hamburger at times - this was because I saw on a farm the chickens would eat the raw hamburger fed to the dogs because the loved it.

    Corn, sunflower seeds (unsalted), milk.

    You can tell if they're getting too skinny if you pick them up (at night if you can't catch them). Their breastbone underneath will be sticking out. It's hard to tell by looking, because of all the feathers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2009
  4. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't give them coconut oil -- I'm not sure what that was for?
     
  5. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    It sounds more like a problem with the feed, than grit.
     
  6. deedles

    deedles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The coconut oil was for the fat aspect. I have been giving them raw milk that had gone to, yogurt as well. That's probably what's been keeping them going this long. I got the feed at Countryside Naturals... the organic, soy free blend. My husband is going to get the grit now, we haven't gotten it in there yet but they are all roosted. They did eat the coconut oil and some of the liver puree. I can see their breast bone sticking out. OMG.

    Vitamins? Fish oil?
     
  7. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    Were they doing fine before you switched thier feed? If so I belive Id switch back to the feed you were using.
     
  8. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Obviously you now know that eggshells are NOT grit, they need actual grit. I don't think it's a rare assumption though, you’re probably not the first to think it, so even though I’m sure you’re sad about your chicken dying, try not to beat yourself up about it.

    I hope others figure this out though!!! Thanks for sharing this so others can learn from it. Chickens digest eggshells and use the calcium in the shells for more egg production which is good, but they use actual GRIT to grind up those shells for further digestion!!

    I agree that your hens need more nutrition, though part of the problem might have been that since they were short on grit, they didn’t digest their food as well as they could have. It’s sort of like they couldn’t ‘chew’ the feed well and so they missed out on some of the nutrition they could have gotten.

    What is the protein listed on the feed, you can give them things like yogurt, some cooked up eggs (boiled or scrambled), and even cooked chicken or leftover meat to give them more protein, but really, don’t overdo either! They could wind up with diarrhea if they’re already run down and weak, so I’d keep it simple and watch them. Soft treats in addition to the regular feed, and lots of fresh water.
     
  9. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Just a note -- don't feed them cooked chicken!! Generally it's never a good idea to feed any animal the same species.
     
  10. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Deficient in something but still laying well? It seems to me that if their diet was lacking adequate protein or calories that the deficiency would shut down egg production.

    I haven't heard that Countryside Naturals has caused problems for others. How long have they been producing eggs and on layer feed?

    Sometimes the loss of a layer occurs without an easily understood reason.

    Steve
     

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