Skinny chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mane_tamer, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. mane_tamer

    mane_tamer New Egg

    Aug 11, 2011
    I'm new, this is my first post, so I hope I'm doing this in the correct manner. We have 25 mixed breed bantum hens and 2 roosters. Our hens are very skinny, you can feel their breast bone and they feel very light.

    We feed laying pellets (always available), table scraps, grasses and other fresh pulled green plants, cracked corn, oyster shells. They are not free ranging but have a large pen and henhouse. What can we feed that will put some weight on them?
  2. sanfordmom

    sanfordmom Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 30, 2011
    My chickens also seem to be a little thin, but as they have plenty of feed and get to free range all day, I attribute it to our heat and humidity. We are in Central Florida and it is miserable! I did put a fan in their coop to keep them more comfortable while sleeping, but the oppressive humidity is hard to escape. They do still lay me big, beautiful eggs every day and they seem to have plenty of energy so I don't worry about it. I would probably be a little thinner if I did not sit in a chair in my office all day:lol:
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    [​IMG] Welcome to the forum! [​IMG] Glad you joined us! [​IMG]

    Some chickens are just light. That's just the way they are. And I don't consider a chicken that is not an obese couch potato a really healthy chicken. But if they are really skinny, there are some things you can do.

    First, check them for lice, mites, and worms. Parasites can drain them.

    Chickens, like everything else, need a balanced diet. The commercial feed contains everything they need to lay well and stay healthy, If you are feeding too much of the other stuff, that can upset that balance. If they are free ranging, I don't worry about that, but if you are feeding them everything they eat, that's a little different. The rule of thumb is to feed them no more treats than they can clean up in 10 to 20 minutes to maintain the proper balance, but I assure you many of us violate that rule of thumb a lot.

    Good luck, and once again [​IMG]
  4. TheGeorgiaGang

    TheGeorgiaGang Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 12, 2012
    Watkinsville, GA
    I know this post is kind of old but I have a similar concern. My girls seem super healthy and beautiful and lay every day, have free choice layer pellets and corn, but I feed them lots of greens because their run is just dirt and leaves. They get garden greens of all kinds, plus grasses and weeds. They gobble it all up like crazy every time. Since they're so skinny I wonder if I'm giving them too many veggies and they're not eating enough pellets? 7 hens go through a 50 lb bag in 3 weeks which seems like a lot to me.
  5. wekiva bird

    wekiva bird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2010
    South Carolina
    ck them for worms.
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    They may be healthy since they are still laying every day, but I agree with wekiva to always consider worms if they have lost weight. For 5-6 hens, 50 lb a month would be about right. You also might have some feed loss due to rodents, sparrows, squirrels, etc.

    Or maybe they are just eating that much. Here is the calculation for you to do: a lighter weight hen eats about 4 ounces a day. If you have heavy brown egg layers they will eat more.

    Make sure that your corn isn't being given in too great of a quantity, as to decrease the protein content of the feed too much. Corn has 7-9% protein and layer feed is 16%, so corn is good in small quantities. I have corn in my feed mix (see my BYC page) and I like to give corn.

    They need the greens for natural vitamins. They will self-regulate on the greens...I wouldn't worry about that.
  7. TheGeorgiaGang

    TheGeorgiaGang Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 12, 2012
    Watkinsville, GA
    Thanks for the information, everyone! Will look up worm info next.
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    There is an "egg withdrawal" period for wormers where you toss the eggs. You might do an advanced search (the regular search doesn't seem to work anymore) on BYC and the web for the egg withdrawal period of wormer medication.

    There is currently only one worming medication approved for poultry and it is not approved for laying hens. So it would be off label and you have to research carefully...

    Here is a nice link for McMurray's advice:

    Notice that is for tablets -I think most people use the liquid Wazine. It only treats for roundworms.

    There are many worming threads on here...ask the BYC in this thread or start another thread if you need additional help.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  9. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2010
    Southern IL
    If you click on the link on my signature line you will see why worming is so important. Weight loss was the first clue for me that something was wrong. All the extra feed in the world didn't make them gain weight if they were infected with parasites.
  10. pheonixstar15a

    pheonixstar15a Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 12, 2010
    Has anyone tried Diatomaceous earth? I understand that is an organic and safe for human consumption , product that can be used for worming livestock, research it on the web, i sometimes place it in my chickens food.

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