Scrawny hen

Birdielee

Songster
Apr 8, 2020
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North Plainfield, NJ USA
How to fatten up a scrawny hen? She individually used to have a lot more meat on her keel bone. She's a very big australorp/orpington. I have food and water in more than one location, so although I figure bullying's involved, i feel like she ought to be able to eat enough. They eat layena omega3 layer feed. Ia there something high calorie to give her to quickly put some weight back on her? Poor thing, she's molting and it's cold out and she's so skinny. It's not just my perception. She is downright scrawny for herself.
 

Birdielee

Songster
Apr 8, 2020
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North Plainfield, NJ USA
Is she acting okay otherwise? Normal poops?

I personally would switch to a high protein feed (Flock Raiser, All Flock etc.) and offer oyster shell on the side.

Sounds like you're doing everything else right.
High protein for the molting, or for her weight? The omega 3 stuff is 16% protein . I have a little bit of purina chick starter. Do you happen to know if chick feed is generally higher or lower protein than 16%?
She has bumble foot, too, but i don't want to work on it while she's dealing with all the rest.
 

Overo Mare

🙄🤚Karen
Premium Feather Member
Aug 26, 2019
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High protein for both the weight gain and the molting. Non-medicated chick starter would be just fine. It will have a much higher protein content.

Most layer feed is 16%. That is about as low as it goes for protein in a complete feed, I believe. Chick starter is usually 18-22%. Unless it's for gamebirds. Then it can reach 30%.

I would put them on anything from 18-22% and offer crushed oyster shell in a separate dish. They will take it as needed.
 

WindingRoad

Crowing
Nov 21, 2018
1,765
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Maine
How to fatten up a scrawny hen? She individually used to have a lot more meat on her keel bone. She's a very big australorp/orpington. I have food and water in more than one location, so although I figure bullying's involved, i feel like she ought to be able to eat enough. They eat layena omega3 layer feed. Ia there something high calorie to give her to quickly put some weight back on her? Poor thing, she's molting and it's cold out and she's so skinny. It's not just my perception. She is downright scrawny for herself.
Scratch is high in calories and will help with fattening her up. Many here don't suggest you feed scratch.I feed it every day year round. Three of my leg horns have laid all year. I had a WLH that had a hard molt. She's better now. I was feeding her separately to make sure she was getting enough. Those Leg Horns eat a lot. Their crops are FULL at night. They can hardly balance on the roosts. They almost topple over head first. My leg horns tend to eat late in the day for some reason.
 

Birdielee

Songster
Apr 8, 2020
846
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North Plainfield, NJ USA
I do have one question. There IS something unusual that could be stressing her out bigtime. She's been a super reliable layer, but the other hen has taken over the nestbox, at least at night. The second hen just did a pretty hard molt and she moved in. Since she's been keeping it clean I haven't pressed the issue, but she may be preventing the first from going in there. There is another nest, but it's lower down and not preferred..nobody's laid a single egg in it in the 3 months it's been installed.
 

WindingRoad

Crowing
Nov 21, 2018
1,765
3,037
283
Maine
I do have one question. There IS something unusual that could be stressing her out bigtime. She's been a super reliable layer, but the other hen has taken over the nestbox, at least at night. The second hen just did a pretty hard molt and she moved in. Since she's been keeping it clean I haven't pressed the issue, but she may be preventing the first from going in there. There is another nest, but it's lower down and not preferred..nobody's laid a single egg in it in the 3 months it's been installed.
Not trying to be rude. But get that bird out of the nest box. Nest boxes are for laying eggs, You will be glad you did when a bird poops all night in the box and you have to wash and pickup poopy eggs. BTW the poop is always on the bottom where you can't see it. LOL.

What you do is go out before total darkness. and put any bird that is on the roost up on the roost in the same place every night. And if they get down put them back up. And if they get down again put them back up. Every night same spot. Might take a week might take 2 days. Chickens are creatures of habit. They will get the hint. You will win don't let them win. You'll be glad when they all get up every night.and you don't have to do this every night in the freezing cold winter. I even move mine still when they decide they want a new spot. Every night same spot. You can do it.
 

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