Need to fatten up skinny hen

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by azygous, Dec 18, 2011.

  1. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    My one year old EE Francie has just finished molting, and she's so skinny, she looks more like a flat carving of a chicken than a real one.

    She seems normal, decent appetite, no worms, but she is probably less than a pound in weight. What can I feed her to get some weight on her? I'm very worried she won't be able to cope with the sub-freezing temperatures we get.
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    So, she looks a little like Tudy, the 2-D BYC mascot - right? Except, Tudy is quite b r o a d [​IMG].


    Okay, you are fairly sure there isn't a reason to treat her for parasites? That could be a problem.

    Molting is tuff on them. There are a lot of nutrients going into those feathers. And, if they are going into feathers, those nutrients aren't going into muscle or any other body tissue.

    Most of the feather is protein. Is she back to laying? Her eggs are made up of a lot of protein also. Just to make things a little easier on her, that dietary protein should be easily digestible. If it isn't, much of it may just be passing thru her body. Now, is not the time for poor-quality feed.

    Now is also not the time to short her for calories. With winter coming on strong, she needs calories to stay warm. There won't be any "fattening up" if she's a shivering wreck in the coop, 24 hours a day. I used to leave a light on during the coldest weeks of the year just so the birds could get down and get themselves something to eat whenever they felt like it. I no longer do that but since the feed, water and roosts are in a fully-insulated room with no sunlight, there's a light on in there for as many hours as there would be daylight, on a long summer day.

    And, warmth? I believe that I fully realize that they can handle the cold - in those down jackets they wear. Still, the heat requirements could be rather high there in Colorado. It is no time for them to be subjected to any drafts, that's for sure. Also, heat is coming from calories - my experience is that they only seem to be able to increase their consumption by about 1/3rd above normal. If the "energy" component of their diets won't give them enuf calories, they will be burning the protein for it. And, protein isn't the easier energy source . . .

    Hens don't need a lean, mean 24% protein diet when the temperatures are down around 0°F and they are already eating 30% more of everything! Now is the time for some comfort food. The highest sources of calories are fats but some low-protein milled grains are fine, too. And whatever you feed them, it would be even easier for them to digest, if it is cooked.


    Edited to add: I just looked at your signature line. You know, you are comparing those EE's to Brahmas, Cochins and Sussex. Hardly seems fair for those little EE's! LOL
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2011
  3. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    Canned Cat food will fatten her up some.
  4. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    Corn and rice bran are both good fatteners. You could also give her a handful of extra feed mixed with some vegetable oil.
  5. chicken delighted

    chicken delighted Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 26, 2011
    make her some warm oatmaeal add a little corn some BOSS a little cod liver oil and maybe some raisian. she love it and it will give her a little boost also mix in some of her feed make a damp mash. we do this every day for our birds during molts and extrem cold can add different things like yougurt, milk,scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, sprouts, be creative they will run for joy every time they see you.
    blackwpk and MrsPbio like this.

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