Need some advice on thin hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by thumper76, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. thumper76

    thumper76 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 29, 2012
    W. WA, land of the wet.
    I am fairly new to chickens, we have had our urban hens for two years now. Today we dipped everyone's legs in oil to treat a suspected scaly leg mite infestation. While handling the hens I noticed that several seemed to be quite thin, with prominent breast bones. One hen has a fairly bare stomach area and it is quite red, she is also one of the thinnest hens. We had some crazy weather a week ago with a large amount of snow, then an ice storm and now lots of rain. The hens have a good quality free choice layer pellet in their coop and also have a large fenced area in their back yard where they have access to grass. I also let them loose in our main yard occasionally.
    I am primarily concerned with the thin hens. All the hens are 2yo or less and egg production has dropped off since the bad weather as well. I have never treated them for worms, but have never seen worms in their poop.

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Some chickens have a more lithe body-type depending on breed. I have a few birds that are what I like to call "streamlined"- thin, whippy, athletic birds. That being said...

    Thin, unthrifty birds says "parasites" to me. I would start with an external bug check and follow it up with a worming. By 2 y.o. the birds probably have a pretty heavy worm load. If you live south of the Mason Dixon line and somewhere wet-ish then your birds are probably riddled with worms.

    This time of year you can expect a slow down of laying due to the shortened days. As the season progresses you will likely see an uptick in your flock's laying.

    I hope this helps. Good luck.

    By the way-[​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    All my laying breeds seem to have prominent breast bones when I handle them. They're layers, not big cornish cross meaties. You could try worming them (I never do), but how are they overall? Are they bright, alert and active? Do they dive for the treats? Are they listless, droopy and spend time huddled up with feathers fluffed out? Those are things I'd be looking for.
  4. thumper76

    thumper76 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 29, 2012
    W. WA, land of the wet.
    Thank you for the responses. I live in WA, so we do get some cold here. We also have a light on in the coop in the winter to encourage continued laying. The ladies are energetic and certainly race over for anything I throw over the fence. The thinnest ones are red star or golden buff type. They weren't as thin earlier in the fall, I wondered if maybe they just need more calories from cracked corn or something similar when the weather gets cold and wet. We had great egg production up until about 2.5 weeks ago and suddenly it has dropped off.
    My husband has ok'd getting a bottle of valbazen to treat them for possible worms.

    The only oddity is my best layer, who is a production red was laying very wrinkled eggs this winter. The shell was quite thin and very textured. During the snow and ice spell we had here, I would often see her lying down on the floor of the coop. Granted none of the hens would get out of the coop. She has the yuckiest looking legs of the flock so I just assumed that the cold made her legs hurt. She hasn't been laying much but she is bright and alert now that the snow is gone.

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