Obese chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by minirexmom, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. minirexmom

    minirexmom Out Of The Brooder

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    My MIL recently gave us 10 hens and a rooster that they have had since last fall in their horse barn. The chickens originally came from a commericial chicken farm. I believe that the chickens are White Rocks.

    The hens are not laying but about 4 eggs a day. They have been enclosed in a double horse stall for awhile with only some electric light as their light source.

    My question is: can chickens become obese? These girls are HEAVY and it looks like they can hardly walk around. They are not at all like our chickens, which include some other Rock varieties.

    I asked my MIL what she had been feeding them and she said that they have been eating some laying crumbles but mostly they like to eat corn. [​IMG]

    I am hoping that now they are out in the open and free ranging (in a large fenced area) they will begin laying a bit more but certainly if they are obese that will have some impact on whether or not they are laying, I would think?
     
  2. needtohatch

    needtohatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not sure if a chicken can get fat or not. Do you know how old they are? If they came from a comercial chicken farm they could be getting too old to lay much and that is why they got rid of them. [​IMG]
     
  3. DTchickens

    DTchickens Overrun With Chickens

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    chickens can, and will get obese.. A lot of people who have fat birds don't even know it honestly because they don't know what to look/feel for... Corn will make them very fat.. Try switching to crack corn instead of whole corn and maybe measuring the feed out.. giving them a lot of excercise works well too.


    ETA: Remember to pay very close attention though when your putting them on a diet, you don't want it getting out of hand and them ending up too skinny
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2009
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Today's variety of cornish Xs (the breed used in commercial broiler houses & some breeding houses) aren't meant to have a long life. They're meat birds. Their legs and internal organs can't keep up with their rapid weight gain.
    To try to keep them alive you'd have to restrict their diet and chances are they still will die young of a heart attack or other ailment related to their size. Sorry [​IMG]
    My MIL used to take chicks directly from the commercial broiler houses and use them for laying hens. They'd live for a couple of years, but that was before the big poultry companies really started messing around with their genetics and such.
    To answer your other question, yes chickens can get obese and it has all the pitfalls that obesity has in humans, plus it can cause issues with internal laying and the like.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2009
  5. minirexmom

    minirexmom Out Of The Brooder

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    One of my BIL's has the commercial farm that they came from and they indeed were "past their prime" although by chicken standards they really shouldn't be. He switches out the chickens there on a fairly regular basis.

    I am not sure how old these chickens are and they could very well not produce but a few eggs every day between the 10 of them. I thought that we would give them a chance rather than sending them on to the processor. I am just amazed at how obese they seem to be compared with our flock.

    I will give them some time to slim down and to see if they start laying. I cannot afford to feed an extra 11 chickens that are not producing for very long.

    My next dilemma will be to try to figure out who is laying and who is not. Not sure how to work that one out! Any suggestions on that one? [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2009
  6. DTchickens

    DTchickens Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:seperate each into own cage, See which ones lay? other then that im not sure on that one [​IMG]
     
  7. bishopschickens

    bishopschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Cumberland, VA
    In my opinion, If you give them proper space and feed they will slim down on their own. You dont want to shock them by puting them on too much of a diet. It will take a couple months but you will start noticing a slimming in the legs and toes first.
     
  8. DTchickens

    DTchickens Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:pretty much what i said, Measure the feed out (give them enough but not 24/7 access because then it won't really work so well.. and with the hot months coming fat chickens aren't good).. Then excercise (Free ranging... stuff like that) crack corns just so they still get a little but not as much and your not just taking the corn away completely.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2009
  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Ah, so you're talking about battery hens and not broilers. Good luck with them.
     

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