Skinny chickens

Kubotabear

Chirping
May 4, 2019
34
96
69
Even though you can't tell by looking at them, my girls are too thin. I can feel their sharp breastbones when I pick them up.

I had to take Delilah into my vet for possible worm issues and brought up that all 5 of my girls were very thin. My suspected worm issues did not turn out to be the case. No worms of any kind. She asked what I feed them. I said Layer crumble, kitchen salad scraps, mealworms and regular scratch. I throw out about a scoop of scratch and mealworms daily in addition to their crumble which is available to them 24/7.


She told me to switch them to layer pellets (more calories per bite) and to discontinue everything else. No scratch, mealworms or salad! The problem is they don't like the pellets. I tried to switch them when they were 4 months old and they'd hang around the gate all day waiting for me to come down and give them worms or scratch. When I went back to crumble they started eating that again.

I've added pellets to their regular crumble, about 1/2 and 1/2 and intend to switch them over to just pellets after this mixture is done. But I'm really puzzled as to why I'm not to give them anything else until they fatten up. Seems the more I feed them stuff they'll eat the more calories they'd consume.

So, anyone else had skinny chicken and what did you do to fatten them up? Oh, they are laying hens, not for meat, but they do need a bit more meat on their bones to be healthy.
 

chickens really

Crazy Mother of Goat Kids
Premium member
Sep 8, 2015
60,753
105,171
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The Funny Farm....Alberta, Canada
I have a variety of hens, Delaware, Rhode Island Reds and Welsummer. But maybe that is a good idea to give them grower finisher with oyster shells supplement for the extra calcium. I will lay off the treats for a good long while.
Those are actually duel purpose Birds. Not actually strictly laying hens
 

rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
6,238
11,635
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WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
If the crumble is the same formulation as the pellets, then no reason not to feed the crumble instead of pellets.

if they're not the same and you'd like to stay on pellets, try serving them wet for a few days to help them transition - chickens often find that more appetizing than dry pellets. Just add enough water to make a thick mush out of the pellets.
 

Coopscraft

Songster
Jul 6, 2019
170
419
106
Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
I second that a correctly balanced crumble is fine. In fact, chickens bite the pellets into smaller pieces anyway so pellets are just more work. You mention they are four months old. Unless they have started laying, give them a start and grow crumble or an all-flock formulation until they lay. It’s a good idea to have free choice oyster shell supplements for your layers.
 

samanthapolishsilkies83

In the Brooder
Feb 10, 2020
17
23
23
Until my hens start laying (usually in the 4-6 month range) I feed them grower. I buy a local organic feed called scratch and peck. It's excellent! It has a lower percentage of protein than the chick starter, and doesn't have the calcium added. Mine maintain a healthy weight and lay frequently. We don't give treats hardly if at all. When we do it is usually watermelon or frozen corn in the summer when it's hot or scraps from the garden.
 

Fluffyflufffluff

Chirping
Premium member
Dec 30, 2019
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432
86
The 'stuff' that you have been feeding as treats has less caloric value than a balanced feed. That is why the vet has made his/her suggestion. A general rule of thumb is that treats should make up no more than 10 % of a chicken's diet.
And all I thought is im feeding my chicks not that good. well... I thought wrong... Theres a lot of chicken feeds online that you can purchase... try one ASAP.
 

Kubotabear

Chirping
May 4, 2019
34
96
69
I second that a correctly balanced crumble is fine. In fact, chickens bite the pellets into smaller pieces anyway so pellets are just more work. You mention they are four months old. Unless they have started laying, give them a start and grow crumble or an all-flock formulation until they lay. It’s a good idea to have free choice oyster shell supplements for your layers.
They were 4 months old the first time I tried to change them to pellets. They are a year old now. I do have oyster shell available to them too. And that's why I was surprised my vet wanted me to switch to pellets. The ingredients are the same as the crumble. Now I'm really confused. :)
 

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