Too many treats?

lmterp

Chirping
Mar 18, 2020
41
30
61
Hi all,

I have 10 hens that are 9 1/2 months old. In the last few weeks, 4-5 of them have started going through some sort of premature molt. They do have feathers growing back in, and the basically seem FINE - active, eating etc., but there are two things that concern me. 1) 3 of them have pale comb 2) Four of them seem quite thin (protruding breast bone). What I've also noticed lately is that, though they eagerly gobble any treats I give them, they do not seem very interested in their regular feed. They do eat it, but don't seem to be eating as much as I think they should. I am wondering if the proportion of treats to feed is to high and, if so, have I inadvertently triggered an early molt by them eating the wrong food. I should add that the other 5-6 of my chickens appear perfectly healthy and perfect weight. The treats I give them EVERY day 1) black oil sunflower seeds - at least 1 cup/day 2) nutri-berries - about 1 per bird/day 3) some greens - kale, cabbage etc. 4) cantaloupe seeds - I eat cantaloupe every morning and give them what I'd normally throw out. They also sometimes get (not every day) sprouted lentils and yogurt. (And I'm now sprouting wheat and mung beans for them.) When they were first losing feathers, I suspected possible mites (partly because of their age, and partly because of a couple had pool stuck to vent feathers) and treated for that. There is no sign of mites now. Also, we are not lighting their coop artificially and only one hen is laying eggs right now. I love these girls dearly.

Thanks for any input,

Lee
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,881
35,832
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
That's a lot of extras. Mine get maybe 2 Tbsp of BOSS a day for the entire flock of 11 birds, and once in a while they'll get something from the garden or kitchen when available (today they got the stem and leaves from a cauliflower).

Doubt it caused an early molt but they're probably eating more extras than actual feed.
 

hayley3

Crowing
14 Years
Aug 16, 2007
2,072
1,956
446
Southern Indiana
Hi all,

I have 10 hens that are 9 1/2 months old. In the last few weeks, 4-5 of them have started going through some sort of premature molt. They do have feathers growing back in, and the basically seem FINE - active, eating etc., but there are two things that concern me. 1) 3 of them have pale comb 2) Four of them seem quite thin (protruding breast bone). What I've also noticed lately is that, though they eagerly gobble any treats I give them, they do not seem very interested in their regular feed. They do eat it, but don't seem to be eating as much as I think they should. I am wondering if the proportion of treats to feed is to high and, if so, have I inadvertently triggered an early molt by them eating the wrong food. I should add that the other 5-6 of my chickens appear perfectly healthy and perfect weight. The treats I give them EVERY day 1) black oil sunflower seeds - at least 1 cup/day 2) nutri-berries - about 1 per bird/day 3) some greens - kale, cabbage etc. 4) cantaloupe seeds - I eat cantaloupe every morning and give them what I'd normally throw out. They also sometimes get (not every day) sprouted lentils and yogurt. (And I'm now sprouting wheat and mung beans for them.) When they were first losing feathers, I suspected possible mites (partly because of their age, and partly because of a couple had pool stuck to vent feathers) and treated for that. There is no sign of mites now. Also, we are not lighting their coop artificially and only one hen is laying eggs right now. I love these girls dearly.

Thanks for any input,

Lee
My silly birds are also molting and today it's 16 degrees!!! I only give my chickens treats in the winter , mealworms and chicken scratch, to help them keep warm and when they are molting to help the feathers grow back in.
A few have pale combs and they are shrunken. They were always my thinnest birds.
I am currently worming them as well. 2nd dose today.
I thought mine had mites at first too.
What are nutriberries?
 

21hens-incharge

Moderator
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
26,782
111,265
1,722
Northern Colorado
I also say that is to many treats.

My flock of 19 have to share just one cup of treats a day.

If you want to try you could offer wet mash as a "treat". It is simply their regular feed mixed with water to make a mash the consistency of cooked oatmeal.
My crazy lot bypass the scratch to eat the mash every morning.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,755
144,129
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Short answer to thread title...YES!

Cut out all treats for 2-3 weeks, get them back eating their feed.
What is their regular feed, brand/model/protein and calcium percentages?

Chickens molt and grow a new set of feathers 2-3 times before around 6 months of age, those are called the juvenile molts.
Some pullets will have a partial molt their first fall/winter.
Most birds will have their first full adult molt their second fall/winter.

Pale combs is most likely because they are not in lay.
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
8,335
36,477
933
Belding, MI
My crazy lot bypass the scratch to eat the mash every morning.

Mine love a wet mash too, especially warm, in the cold weather. I love how I use up the fines from their pellets. I also love how I can use up the whey from making yogurt. It's a treat for me to see them run over to eat it.

Some pullets will have a partial molt their first fall/winter.

Sigh. Yup. No eggs for me. But it'll give me a reason to make a "first egg" post again.
 

lmterp

Chirping
Mar 18, 2020
41
30
61
Genersl rule of thumb is 10% of diet is the max for treats. Replace those treats with unhealthy foods (chips, candy, pop) and ask if you would be comfortable with your child eating that much each day
Thank you! I guess I had justified it by saying it was all healthy food.
 

lmterp

Chirping
Mar 18, 2020
41
30
61
My silly birds are also molting and today it's 16 degrees!!! I only give my chickens treats in the winter , mealworms and chicken scratch, to help them keep warm and when they are molting to help the feathers grow back in.
A few have pale combs and they are shrunken. They were always my thinnest birds.
I am currently worming them as well. 2nd dose today.
I thought mine had mites at first too.
What are nutriberries?
Thank you for your response! Did you test for worms, or are you doing it proactively? I had wondered about worms, but a former vet friend/chicken owner said worms are unlikely. Nutriberries are a "snack" for birds that I originally bought to help give one of them oral antibiotics. But they LOVE it! It is probably a sort of scratch made into a ball.
 

lmterp

Chirping
Mar 18, 2020
41
30
61
I also say that is to many treats.

My flock of 19 have to share just one cup of treats a day.

If you want to try you could offer wet mash as a "treat". It is simply their regular feed mixed with water to make a mash the consistency of cooked oatmeal.
My crazy lot bypass the scratch to eat the mash every morning.
Thank you! I will try that, though I am skeptical that they will be fooled. (I tried that with a sick bird a couple of months ago.)
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom