Overeating or just an older chick?

swansonfamilycircus

In the Brooder
Aug 2, 2020
9
34
28
Suburban NE Ohio
Just some tips I’ve learned. I have a meat hen that’s over a year old. She is free ranged so That is one factor. When you feed, don’t pour it into a pile. Throw it so it spreads out. This way she can’t overeat and will actually have to work for her food. Give her full access to the yard so she can get plenty of exercise. It’s good to let them scratch around that way their legs stay in use since that’s the first thing to fail most of the time. You may also be able to coax her into a little exercise by trotting around with a treat. And make sure she has pleeeeenty of water. I do know of cases of these birds lasting over two years and it’s quite rewarding seeing them run around having a good life instead of in the back of a truck. Even if they don’t make it, at least she was loved and cared for :)
That's my feeling, too! Thanks for the advice! I will definitely scatter their feed to make her work it off. Do you think I should put a small feeder up higher a couple times a day for the other girls to supplement?
 

Sonya9

Crowing
6 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,875
1,091
271
Georgia
I have never had a cornish x nor do I plan too, but because they are sooooo very food obsessed having her free range all day or at least having something to hunt for seems like the humane thing to do. Locking her up in an area with no food at all, or no hope of finding food, would likely be torture for them. Plus they will start eating the bedding from what I have heard.
 

ChocolateMouse

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Jul 29, 2013
3,956
11,077
517
Cleveland OH
Yes, because they are food obsessed they are voracious foragers, which is why you give them a bare-minimum maintenance diet and then let them run with the flock. They'll eat a little more and that's OK, but it will be good, mostly high-fiber and high-protein foods with fewer calories per bite. Not to mention they exercise well that way.

Bertha.png



This was my CX Bertha at 18 months (ish). She weighed 15lbs and slept in the nest boxes. We only feed the chickens as much as they need - the rest of the time she foraged with the flock. She wobbled a little when she ran but she sure could book it. She had a big personality and kept the peace in the flock surprisingly well. She made friends with all the new chickens who liked that she was big and slow most of the time. When a bully would pick on a new bird they'd run to her and she'd peck the bullies - who didn't stand a chance against her because she was huge. She also chased a cat out of our yard once.

So very do-able. They're sweet birds. They're just not very long lived no matter what you do.
 

swansonfamilycircus

In the Brooder
Aug 2, 2020
9
34
28
Suburban NE Ohio
Yes, because they are food obsessed they are voracious foragers, which is why you give them a bare-minimum maintenance diet and then let them run with the flock. They'll eat a little more and that's OK, but it will be good, mostly high-fiber and high-protein foods with fewer calories per bite. Not to mention they exercise well that way.

View attachment 2285161


This was my CX Bertha at 18 months (ish). She weighed 15lbs and slept in the nest boxes. We only feed the chickens as much as they need - the rest of the time she foraged with the flock. She wobbled a little when she ran but she sure could book it. She had a big personality and kept the peace in the flock surprisingly well. She made friends with all the new chickens who liked that she was big and slow most of the time. When a bully would pick on a new bird they'd run to her and she'd peck the bullies - who didn't stand a chance against her because she was huge. She also chased a cat out of our yard once.

So very do-able. They're sweet birds. They're just not very long lived no matter what you do.
Yes, because they are food obsessed they are voracious foragers, which is why you give them a bare-minimum maintenance diet and then let them run with the flock. They'll eat a little more and that's OK, but it will be good, mostly high-fiber and high-protein foods with fewer calories per bite. Not to mention they exercise well that way.

View attachment 2285161


This was my CX Bertha at 18 months (ish). She weighed 15lbs and slept in the nest boxes. We only feed the chickens as much as they need - the rest of the time she foraged with the flock. She wobbled a little when she ran but she sure could book it. She had a big personality and kept the peace in the flock surprisingly well. She made friends with all the new chickens who liked that she was big and slow most of the time. When a bully would pick on a new bird they'd run to her and she'd peck the bullies - who didn't stand a chance against her because she was huge. She also chased a cat out of our yard once.

So very do-able. They're sweet birds. They're just not very long lived no matter what you do.
Beautiful Bertha!! Thank you! You have given me hope and great advice!
 

Lovesumchicks

Chirping
Apr 22, 2020
65
122
63
I had my cornish hens well over a year and some months before I decided to cull them to eat. At 12 pounds. I kept them exercised but only on cool day's, they cannot handle heat at all. They will sit at the feeder all day if you let them. They actually ate so much one day they were projectile vomiting.
I would take the feeder away at night because they would eat all night too.
I would have a tin can of crumble and make them follow me around the yard early mornings for about 15 minutes then I would let them have food.
 

Oncoming Storm

Songster
Jun 3, 2019
901
1,291
176
That's my feeling, too! Thanks for the advice! I will definitely scatter their feed to make her work it off. Do you think I should put a small feeder up higher a couple times a day for the other girls to supplement?
You could, but you’d have to be sure it’s out of reach completely. I don’t since my flock is completely free ranged. I just throw out a couple scoops of feed around the barn so that it’s nicely spread out so everyone gets some, even the shy ones. This method has worked very well for me since I still see Fat-Girl up on the roosts and laying in elevated nest (and flying in my face when I surprise her). However it also helps her that a lot of the property around the barn (where the flock stays) has like tiered hills so she gets a good calf workout XD
 

swansonfamilycircus

In the Brooder
Aug 2, 2020
9
34
28
Suburban NE Ohio
Well, it's only been a few days since I posted and I'm already happily surprised by the changes! As I said, I've been removing food at night for weeks. I now have them all follow me down to the coop from the brooder where I sprinkle about 1 cup of feed around the run. From around noon to 5/6 they have free roam of the yard, where I sprinkle another couple of cups all over the place. They mostly forage, but have the crumble available. Beeg Egg has been the leader on the foraging trips. Only occasionally heading back to the area where the food/waterer is. As a bonus, my one son (who also struggles with weight) has been regularly scooping her up and setting her down in the far corners of the yard where she clucks a few times the run-waddles down to the flock. She is already looking a little trimmer and isn't struggling with walking. She is up and about almost all day now, only resting a few moments before setting off to find more clover/bugs. Thank you all for the advice! We have high hopes, but are prepared for the worst. Looking golden for now!
 

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