New hen is kinda underweight, what can I feed her?


8 Years
Apr 16, 2011
El Monte
I got a barred plymouth rock hen a couple of weeks ago and I can feel her breastbone easily. I have other gamey mutt pullets that feel more meaty than this hen, so I'm a bit concerned. The barred rock, Spaghetti, lays an egg every other day, and she does eat some of the lay pellets I always have available for my chickens, and she spends a lot of time foraging in our backyard, eating grass and whatever bug she can find. I don't know what her living conditions were before I got her, but I can tell she didn't eat that well. Spaghetti drinks lot of water and she poops a lot, however I haven't seen anything abnormal in her poop, except that isn't as solid as my other chickens, but it isn't diarrhea.

By the amount of poop I see under her perch and throughout the day I know she's eating, but I'd like to give her more stuff to help her gain weight. I've given her and the flock some zucchini lately, and also grapes and sunflower seeds besides scratch in the morning and the ever present lay pellets. I've also given her cheese and some ham, and also bread a few times. What else can I give her to supplement her diet?
Cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, canned tuna, black oil sunflower seeds, any of your own leftovers . . . maybe some mealworms? Think protein . . . .
It's gonna sound weird, but we rarely have leftover food here (unless my mother comes from mexico to stay with us, then the fridge is flooded with leftover spicy food). I'm gonna try giving them tuna every other day and eggs more often. It's been really hot lately here in SoCal, and my chickens already ate all the pincher bugs that were hiding under the garden bricks. there are like 20 bricks or so, and the 5 chickens ate probably close to 300 bugs in 2 days.

I'm also gonna buy some cottage cheese tomorrow to add to their diet, thank you!

Edit: I know, we got some really hot days here atm, and she drinks a lot of water to cool down. I think she lost weight since I got her, but seeing her poop huge soft poop often tells me that she is eating, just not gaining that much weight. I'll get my flock some canteloupe tomorrow and see if they'll eat it, they've never had that fruit before.
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mmmm . . . pincher bugs
there aren't any in my yard any more either!
The most natural and easiest way to worm your chickens, at least in my opinion, is through feeding them raw pumpkin seeds. If you get them from a pumpkin itself, that's always nice to get the flesh and all for food too
- But Pumpkin and other mature squash or melon based seeds are a good, natural dewormer.

Best thing to do is cut/crush them up and feed them directly. You should notice a difference within 4 days to a week.
Chido, one of the main problems is that most garden treats are low protein and fat, high moisture feeds. This is not necessarily bad but it does prevent weight gain. The best way for us to loose weight is by eating more unprocessed veggies right. Look for foods with more fat and protein content to help her gain. Also definitely worm her or you may be feeding more worms than chicken. I don't go the DE route. I have never seen any true scientific data to prove it does anything when used internally. I think it does work well externally where it can get through the chinks in bugs armor to cut and dry them out. I stick to dedicated chemical wormers. Piperzine first with a follow-up in a week to 10 days with fenbenzadole or Valbazen works wonders. I have used Ivermectin but am not as sure of it as I am of the others for chickens.

I would say that you need to deworm, and add nutrient dense food in the evenings and mornings before it is too hot. THe high moisture treats are great for during the heat of the day. Think protein - mealworms, grasshoppers, cat food... they get less food when it is so hot and the more they eat while it is hot the higher their metabolism and the hotter they are. I used to give stuff like watermelon and grapes for treats during the heat and then increase the protein content of their food. Is she stressed from the heat? I found I had some chickens that just did better if there was a fan to lay in front of during the hottest part of the day and it certainly helped keep my flock happier and healthier in the HOT summer days. Another thing that can really perk up your birds is giving them some plain kefir - she may be a little run down and need some probiotics too, probiotics can help them get their digestion up and running properly.

Oh, and we add DE to our feed every day and have never had to deworm our birds... I swear by the stuff but we are all different and can choose what we prefer. You could do a combo of pumpkin seeds and DE if you wanted to go the natural route... don't have to quit eating the eggs either then. Just my two cents
HOpe you get her fattened up.

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