starved chickens


In the Brooder
9 Years
Nov 1, 2010
I just rescued 6 hens and a rooster that have been starved. They are very very good chickens. The man that owned them raised chickens all his life, showed and judged. These chickens were his pride and joy. He had heart surgery and then a massive stroke and has been in the nursing home for 3 months. Someone misunderstood how much to feed and has fed a very small fraction of what was needed. I only brought home these particular ones but there were others that were not the quality that these are.

I have them settled in tonight and have had chickens before but not in this shape. When I picked up one of the hens she weighs so little that it can't be much more than feathers and bones. The rooster also has trouble with his legs, I noticed one in particular is red, he can stand but not much and has little spirit. There was another rooster there in better shape so I think this one has had practically nothing to eat and may not make it.

I tried to stress them as little as possible and give them something to eat. I have layer pellets and chick starter and have greens from the garden I can give them tomorrow and maybe get them some cottage cheese and some egg. maybe even some ground round. I noticed that there was oyster shell or something comparable. I try not to medicate. If I am judging the man right, and he had really cut down on his numbers, these are probably last years chickens. So not real old chickens.

Does anyone have anything to add that might make a difference, I really would like not to loose these chickens. I think two of the hens and the rooster are in the worst shape as I saw one hen just laying there when I went in to get them and she laid there quite a bit when the others were moving around. Then the one that weighs hardly anything and the rooster. If I can get them doing better I will check for bugs and dust but if I can wait until they are stronger I would like to.

Appreciate all of you and your expertise.
Oh wow. I really hope they all make it. VERY IMPORTANT. Try not to give them too much too eat as that can make them sick. It will have to be gradual weight gain. Id give some electrolytes in their water or some polyvisol infant drops (without iron). Good luck.

Welcome to the BYC. Im sure you will find everything you need to take good care of your new birds here.

Try giving them some Gatoraid if they will not eat. It has enough sugar to give them a temporary boost and may increase appetite. Follow with crumbled egg yolk and yogurt mixed together, you can add some chick starter if you wish. If you do not see improvement after this then you can try polyvisol without iron (human infant vitamins).

In my experience the Gatoraid work wonders in a matter of minutes. Good luck.
Best of luck to you! They are some lucky chickens.

Are you going to go back for the other ones and make sure they are no longer starved??
Small amounts of feed many times per day for a day or 2 with the emphasis on easily digested - so very finely chopped fresh greens (very important to get proper digestive enzymes back in their system), and some fruit. Be certain they have plenty of grit.
I am not sure this is the way to update my post about the starved chickens. They are all on their feet and eating. The roo got up on a crate tonight. I gave them some young garden weeds this morning, I got some sour cream for tomorrow to give them as a treat. They seem to be doing ok. I need to watch them tomorrow and be sure everyone is eating and drinking but they all seem up and about. One hen is a real loud mouth. I do not think that I will go back after the others, but am not sure. I fed them yesterday when I was catching these and would like to help but I was figuring out the feed bill and maybe I had better do a good job with these and not take on more than I can handle space, time and money wise. It costs me a $100 just for gas to go there and return. I have been praying about it. I did explain to the young man that he had misunderstood and how much it should take to feed that many chickens. Since his father is no longer able to talk I think it was a misunderstanding. He thought he understood but obviously did not. We have major predator issues and I need to expand my Fort Knox to accommodate these. I have room for all but it is not as secure as it really needs to be, and I need to really consider the feed bill.
Thanks to all who have offered help and expert advise.
You have done the right thing for these birds. It is better to take in a few chickens and provide good care than take a large number that you may not be able to provide for. I am glad to hear they are doing well.

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