Obese chicken

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by peeppeepbokbok, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. peeppeepbokbok

    peeppeepbokbok New Egg

    Sep 17, 2009
    I know this is pretty dumb, but I have two industrial meat hens that i saved as chicken babies. they are a year and a half old.
    (please dont give me the whole 'they're supposed to be dead anyway' attitude [​IMG])

    Anyway, the biggest girl, Jerra is 7 Kilograms. (over 15 pounds) and naturally shes having trouble walking and breathing. She dosen't lay,
    and i think this is part of her problem. I have another who is significantly smaller. I know shes supposed to be genetically massive but i
    wonder if any of you have ever dieted your chicken?

    All she eats right now is grass and some seed. I've stopped feeding her laying pellets. She sometimes eats vegetable scraps and a bit of bread and cheese.
    She's pretty active and free range most of the day.

    I just want her to live a long and happy life but she is SO fat, and gets bumble feet all the time.
    my poor girl! [​IMG]

    if you could give me some info, it'd be great.

    This is jerra and her sister ziggy, relaxing.
    here she is again. [​IMG]
  2. Airilith

    Airilith Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2009
    Eastern Shore, VA
    The breeder flocks of meat production birds are always put on a diet to keep them from getting as massive as those that go to the plant. The key is to slowly reduce the amount of feed, as sudden shocks can really hurt them. In your case it doesn't sound like that should be a problem though. It seems like she's really not eating much other than what she can get free range. The reason that she can maintain or even gain in such a state is because birds like her are bred for high efficiency (a little bit of feed will make her grow as much meat as possible).

    The way the breeder meat birds are feed is just once in the morning. Now this can create a problem in an of itself, if you choose to do the same thing. Birds can feed pack (their crops get really hard and they can't breathe) if they don't stop gobbling down their feed to drink every now and then. You can prevent this by letting her have some feed, taking it from her until she drinks, and then let her have at it again. If it does happen, massage her crop gently and give her water. It will break up given time and your patient massages.

    The only thing you have to keep an eye on with your current plan is lack of nutrients because she's not getting a balanced layer diet (which the pellets provide). Though she's probably not too bad off assuming she has enough land to graze and you give her a bit of oyster shell.

    Feel free to pick my brain about feeding breeder meat birds. [ I worked in the industry for a while [​IMG] ]

    ETA: I wouldn't worry to much about poor laying, as she was bred with no (or very, very minimal) selection for egg laying. And she looks really good. Her comb is a healthy red, and she doesn't look as gigantic as some of the worst of the hens I've seen.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2010
  3. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree- gradually reduce the corn and other carbohydrate-rich foods (bread) in favour of protein, fibre and the oils such as found in wild bird seed. Do not eliminate all of her regular ration. The fibre reduces her hunger. But this is temporary and she will need to return to her feed after a few weeks in reduced amounts. There is no guarantee that the fat in her abdomen will reduce and she may have continue to laying problems including prolapse as a result. But you can get the excess weight off her legs. Add a liquid multivitamin to the water ( all the birds benefit from this) to enhance her vitamin D3 levels withut compromising the balance of nutrients. D3 is used to improve leg growth as well as to balance calcium. She looks healthy!

    Treat separately for the bumblefoot. You know, it may be the cause of the limping.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
  4. peterlund

    peterlund Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2010
    MA Cranberry Country
    Great looking bird. Most look as if they were in a bar room brawl, with missing feathers and real dirty chests due to flopping on the floor.
    You took very good care of it!
  5. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Just wanted to add a thank you for caring so much about these birds [​IMG]
  6. SeattleChickenHead

    SeattleChickenHead Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 26, 2010
    this is making me HUNGRY! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  7. mancina

    mancina Out Of The Brooder

    May 1, 2011
    I just got the autopsy report back on my Rhode Island Red who died about a month ago. She died of a liver hemorrhage caused by obesity. She was only 2.44 kilos (about 5 1/3 lbs.) I had no idea she was obese. I had been giving her layer feed and occasional treats (scratch, yogurt, mealworms) along with the other hens. Not more than a small single handful of scratch shared among four hens, once a day. Now I don't know what to do, because I have another hen of a similar size, and I really don't want her to die!

    Your hen weighs three times what my hen weighed! But mine wasn't such a heavy breed. I hope you have her for a long time.

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