Skinny Chickens

DressageRider

In the Brooder
Apr 21, 2017
28
19
39
Pennsylvania
We have Black Australorps (1-2.5 years old) 16 hens, 2 Roos. Recently I noticed how skinny they are.

We were feeding Rowe layer pellets, oyster shells, grit, free range during the day, scratch occasionally and some table scraps.

I had a fecal sent out and came back negative for worms. We did do a round of natural wormer while we waited for results.

They were molting when I noticed so we did switch them to Feather fixer. I have noticed a few eggs without shells/soft shells since switching even though oyster shells are out. I’ve been crushing egg shells to feed them but don’t think they’re eating them.

I’m at a loss, what do I need to be feeding to get weight on them and what do I need to be feeding regularly once they have weight on?
 

Wyorp Rock

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A molting bird can look very skinny without their feathers, so weighing them along with gauging their body condition score would be more accurate.

Were the soft shell eggs right before molt or when coming back into lay?
If that continues, then try to figure out which hen is laying them, give her a good going over for lice/mites, see that she is eating/drinking and not too stressed. Give her extra calcium like 1/2tablet of Caltrate for 1 week to see if that makes a difference.


ll-jpg.1175729
 

DressageRider

In the Brooder
Apr 21, 2017
28
19
39
Pennsylvania
A molting bird can look very skinny without their feathers, so weighing them along with gauging their body condition score would be more accurate.

Were the soft shell eggs right before molt or when coming back into lay?
If that continues, then try to figure out which hen is laying them, give her a good going over for lice/mites, see that she is eating/drinking and not too stressed. Give her extra calcium like 1/2tablet of Caltrate for 1 week to see if that makes a difference.


ll-jpg.1175729

We had a few sick hens when they were molting so I was handling the entire flock a lot more checking everyone out when I noticed. You can definitely feel around their breastbone which is how I noticed. I’d say some were around 1.5-2 on the scale you posted.

The soft shells were after the molt, found them in random spots not in boxes.
 

Wyorp Rock

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We had a few sick hens when they were molting so I was handling the entire flock a lot more checking everyone out when I noticed. You can definitely feel around their breastbone which is how I noticed. I’d say some were around 1.5-2 on the scale you posted.

The soft shells were after the molt, found them in random spots not in boxes.
Are you still finding soft shell eggs?
Can you describe what you mean - you had a few that were sick during molt - did they have a respiratory illness?

It sounds like you free range and are making feed available to them as well. You can try upping the protein content of the feed to see if that makes a difference.
Check them for lice/mites too. Consider getting another fecal float or you could de-worm them if you feel that they may have worms. From what I understand, testing only looks at a small sample, so sometimes a test can come back negative.
 

DressageRider

In the Brooder
Apr 21, 2017
28
19
39
Pennsylvania
Are you still finding soft shell eggs?
Can you describe what you mean - you had a few that were sick during molt - did they have a respiratory illness?

It sounds like you free range and are making feed available to them as well. You can try upping the protein content of the feed to see if that makes a difference.
Check them for lice/mites too. Consider getting another fecal float or you could de-worm them if you feel that they may have worms. From what I understand, testing only looks at a small sample, so sometimes a test can come back negative.

This is the first real molt I’ve gone through with my chickens, it’s never been really noticeable like this, so not sure when it’s “over”. They are still growing feathers back, the last soft shell was a few days ago. We switched to the feather fixer hoping to give them the extra protein. I guess I didn’t really think about that with the fecal, figured if one skinny chicken didn’t have them none of them did. The sample was from a few different hens though. I didn’t see any signs of lice/mites (been down that road ).

Sick chickens...”Chicken Little” I’m almost positive had sour crop. She reeked, got her with probiotics and she finally regurgitated what looked like a wild cherry seed? The next day she looked 100x better. She’s been fine since...”Big Mama” wasn’t as fortunate. She looked like she had water belly, I tried for a week and she’s improve and then get worse. We dissected her and from what I’ve researched I think it was an ovarian cyst...Both were within a few days of each other but not related/same symptoms at all.

Sorry so long.
 

Wyorp Rock

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I would try upping the protein and see how that goes.
Depends on each individual chicken, but mine take a little while to finish molting, even though they look feathered out, if you will inspect them, you will see pin feathers.

I'm sorry that you lost a couple, that's always hard.
 

DressageRider

In the Brooder
Apr 21, 2017
28
19
39
Pennsylvania
I would try upping the protein and see how that goes.
Depends on each individual chicken, but mine take a little while to finish molting, even though they look feathered out, if you will inspect them, you will see pin feathers.

I'm sorry that you lost a couple, that's always hard.

Upping it more than we did? Thankfully it was just the one but it’s definitely frustrating not being able to help them.
 

Wyorp Rock

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Upping it more than we did? Thankfully it was just the one but it’s definitely frustrating not being able to help them.
So it's only 1 chicken that is molting/losing condition, not all of them?
If that's the case, then direct dose her with some vitamins and give her a daily treat of egg, tuna or meat.

I'm not sure what you already "upped" the protein to? I would aim for 18-20%. I feed a 20% year round, but I still give my molters extra.
 

DressageRider

In the Brooder
Apr 21, 2017
28
19
39
Pennsylvania
No, sorry we only lost the one chicken. All of them are molting..Ok, the layer feed we used to feed was only 16%, the feather fixer we switched to is 18%. What brand/type of feed do you feed that is 18-20? This was the only thing I found that wasn’t chick feed.
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
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Hens and roosters should have a well padded keel bone and a vent that is not all stopped up with, or obstructed with big gobs of fat.

All or almost all of a hens' or roosters' fat is concentrated in the vicinity of the birds' vent.

Chickens don't lose fat like you or I do, when a chicken is not being fed enough they lose CONDITION meaning meat and muscle.
 

MANNA-PRO

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