Nutrition for broody hen

Dave Z

In the Brooder
10 Years
May 29, 2009
Well, she's not broody anymore, she hatched 'em out. Lost a couple for whatever reason, we think a hawk got one, but at any rate, she's down to four rapidly growing chicks, not quite 4 weeks old.

Anyway, mom, a buff orpington, is being a good mom, but has really lost weight and doesn't seem to be gaining it back. She seems healthy and alert enough, but gives all her food to the chicks. If I throw out some scratch, she clucks excitedly for the chicks. I have chick starter available along with lay pellets, plus they free range most of the day. Her comb is pale pink and her feathers are looking pretty ratty. I just checked her as they went to bed and her crop is empty. Should I be providing some sort of nutritional boost for her? Is this typical behavior that will improve as the chicks mature?

Thanks in advance for any tips.
Everybody's crop is stuffed except for hers and there's still food in the feeders.
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Scratch has little nutrition so the fact she doesn't get any isn't really harmful. She should be eating either the chick starter or layer feed though. If she's not then try to find the reason. She may need to be penned up with her chick nearer to the feed or something. You could try adding some black oil sunflower seeds. I use that in place of scratch because it does have lots of useful nutrition especially high calorie.
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