scrawny hens, suggestions?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by zzGypsy, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 8, 2011
    hi,
    I bought a small adult laying flock about 6 weeks ago, one rooster and 5 hens. Don't know what they are, the farmer I bought them from just shrugged when I asked, but they're standard sized, orange-red with a little tan in the neck feathers on some, and throughout the feathering on the others.

    I was so excited to be getting gentle easily handled chickens that I didn't ask enough questions... like how old they are. my guess is they're not that young because their upper beaks are worn quite a bit, shorter and blunter than their lower beak. I'm getting 2-4 eggs aday, although they free range so I might not be getting all the eggs they lay.

    here's my question... when I pick them up, they feel really thin to me... prominent breast bone and not nearly as much chicken under their feathers as I expect. What should I be looking for / doing to help get them up to a healty weight?

    they're getting scratch and oystershell, and I just switched them from layer crumbles to game bird crumbles (the eggs are a little bigger after a week on game bird), free-range green pasture, and fruit and vegie table scraps. they will raid the cat's kibble if I don't prevent it. there are lots of bugs, grasshoppers are particularly abundant.

    other than being thin, and not giving an egg every day, they look healty. feathers are good, they stay fluffy and groomed, they're active, alert, and their eyes look clear. they have the energy to chase after the flying grasshoppers we've got with enthusiasm and come running when I call.

    but they're thin and I think that needs fixing. suggestions?

    thanks!
     
  2. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Southern New Jersey
    My RIRs are just coming into laying. I'm still mixing 24% chick starter in with the layer peletts. I moved them in with 1yr old barred rock hens who were coming off a molt. Thier feathers came in with sharp definition and they have put on some nice weight. Plus I am getting 8-9 eggs a day from them. Just a thought. My dels which are a month younger are also looking slick feathered and plump. All are getting dawn to dusk free range.
     
  3. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    hmm. maybe I'll add some chick starter to thier meals until they fatten up a bit.
     
  4. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You may also want to consider worming them. I had a little silkie hen that seemed thinner than I thought she should be. After worming she started putting some weight on.
     
  5. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    worming. that sounds like a good idea... what do you use for worming a chicken?
     
  6. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do a search on here for Dawg53 and worming. He's the best.
    sharon
     
  7. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    They might be red sex links. I have a version of those and they are really light birds. I just got an older BR hen and she weighs easily 3x as much as my biggest Isa Brown. They put all their energy into egg-making. Right now they are eating a 20% protein food. I tried to move down to 16% and they stopped laying altogether. Worming is a good idea although I have no idea what you use for that. Also, they may have had their beaks trimmed. Hatcheries provide that as an optional service to keep overcrowded chickens from picking eachother.
     

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