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Over weight chickens.. Any advice appreciated.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by sara1226, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. sara1226

    sara1226 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have two Wyandottes that are about a year old now. When I first got them in January they had lice, worms, and they were sneezing. I gave them some vitamins, probiotics, wormers, etc and they made a full turn around. The problem I have now is that they (one more than the other) are seriously over weight. They pig out every day and have giant crops every night. One is so large I can barely pick her up and I can barely feel her keel bone!

    I have done the obvious.. Cut out all treats.. No scratch grains, and I am giving vitamins. We had a sudden warm up over the weekend and the 2 girls were sleeping a lot and panting. Sometimes even standing tail down. I think they are too heavy to tolerate the heat. Unfortunately my flock has been exposed to Mareks disease, so I am worried that I'm wrong and it's Mareks again. However.. When we brought the two chubby girls in the garage where it was cooler they seemed to do better.

    The heavier one is having a hard time breathing some times. I just wish there was something else I could do. Does it take a long time for chickens to lose weight??

    Not looking for suggestions saying I should put her down or have these two for dinner. Our chickens are our pets and we care about them.

    Thanks for any advice anyone might have.
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    What is the protein content of the feed you are using? Are your birds kept confined or allowed to free range? When you pick them up do they feel squishy all over, like a water balloon? How rapidly have they gained from a normal body condition to their current state?
    Having a giant crop at night is not unusual or, in itself, indicative of an issue as it is normal for them to load the crop prior to the roosting hours in order to digest it all overnight.
    With regards to culling - in situations where a bird's condition cannot be helped the suggestion of culling is not a reflection of a lack of care, there are times when that IS the kindest and most caring course of action.
     
  3. Circle-M-Farm

    Circle-M-Farm Out Of The Brooder

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    What are you calling over weight, what are there weights.

    6 to 7 pounds is a average weight for a Wyandotte.
     
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Chickens tote their fat clumped up around the vent area. You should be able to easily feel their hip bones. Put these girls on a diet if too fat. Some dry deep litter that all of their pellets are fed in will also help. This will make them hunt, scratch, and search for every last calorie. Every hen or rooster not raised in a sterile bubble has been exposed to Marek's Disease. Especially those free to roam.
     
  5. BirdHead

    BirdHead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Use grit and water to flush them out, a chicken can go 2-3 days without feed. If you don't have them where they have to scratch or their food they just eat it, change it. Sound awfully heavy but they need jumping exercise and/or flying. I rarely have that issue however my smaller fowl like to eat more then they need to so give them proportions based on their average weight, life lyte water you can cut some more feed out as it has multiple vitamins and minerals just make sure it's clean. Their crops should not get bigger then normal, could get impacted, without proper digestion develop sour crops so grit is a NECESSITY at all times. I even leave oyster shell in the mix to develop strong bones at the same time. A bird should always be active unless it's bed time.
     
  6. sara1226

    sara1226 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the suggestions. The feed is a 17% protein. I know how this happened, and it's partially my fault.. I just need to work hard to fix the problem now. Over winter I had a couple of other chickens who were seriously under weight and I was worried they wouldn't survive the cold. I do understand most chickens tolerate cold, but I (unfortunately) live in Northern Wisconsin where it can be well below zero for days at a time. This is also the reason I couldn't just seperate the chickens. I couldn't just whip up a seperate coop in the middle of winter. So I went to a feed store and asked for advice. She told me to give them all 17% feed and give them scratch grain and sunflower hearts. It's clear to me I gave too much. I feel guilty but in my defense I've only had chickens since May and I'm still learning. I also (another mistake) have gotten chickens from several different places.. Hence the different weight conditions and different health issues right off the bat. This mixed matched group is hard to manage for sure! BUT.. Now I will get a different feed percentage and I will spread the food around so they have to hunt for it.

    I can free range some of my chickens when I am home, but not all of them. I live in a town called Eagle River.. There are eagles and Hawks everywhere and they would get picked up in a heartbeat.

    Oh.. and someone asked me about if the biggest one I'm worried about feels pudgy all over. Yes, she does sadly, I would estimate her to be 8 or 9 pounds but my scale broke so I'm not sure about it. I will do my best to help her.

    Thanks again.

    Sara
     
  7. BirdHead

    BirdHead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ooo wee that's some cold weather, the lowest it's gotten down here was 28f thankfully my oriental could bear it. I mix my feed depending on the season and what I'm doing with them. It being that cold I wouldn't worry about them being Overweight as long as they get good exercise, carbs provide energy and calories provide heat. Having that protein sprouts good feather growth just as Long they don't go lazy on you, no good. I actually caught my big American Game just laying on its side yesterday I'm worried he's sick or has something I can't afford to fix right now so grit, grain, and life lytes with time on the cord to stretch and get the food digesting and bringing up his health. Good Luck!
     
  8. sara1226

    sara1226 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know most chickens are exposed to Mareks disease at some point, but sadly I discovered that I have a very bad fatal strain of it on my property. I was losing one chicken every month August to January. I stopped losing them once I added Rooster Booster to their drinking water, probiotics, St John's wort and some other minerals and nutrients. Hoping I can go awhile without more loses. My whole family loves our chickens. I'm glad I posted this on here about the two that are over weight.. I got some good suggestions about things to try. I have 7 chickens in a 16 ft long by 12ft wide enclosed run.. I dumped a bunch of leaves and grass in it so they have to search around more for food.
     
  9. sara1226

    sara1226 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No joke.. The weather here went from 18 degrees to 77 in one week!!! I think that is another reason the two heavier chickens struggled. There was no adjustment time for the warmer temps.. It was a sudden change for them. I really dislike where I live but my husband won't move because he has a good job.

    Leave him... Well maybe...

    Leave my chickens.... Not a chance!!

    :lau

    Just kidding.. Sort of.

    Lol
     
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Love Eagle River! I miss northern Wisconsin a lot, and visited last summer, first time in MANY years. So sorry about your Marek's problem. Buy only vaccinated chicks, and isolate them from your place for two or three weeks, so they have a better chance to survive. Shade, airflow, fans, and misting will help your big birds manage the heat better, in addition to keeping them not fat. Euthanasia is kinder than a slow and miserable death from tumors or bad infection. Mary
     

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