Underweight Hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Tarryn, Jan 20, 2017.

  1. Tarryn

    Tarryn New Egg

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    Sep 23, 2016
    One of my hens is significantly lighter than the others I have of the same breed. Her feathers are in bad shape, and she is missing a lot around her neck. She is the same age as the rest of my girls, but is a good two pounds lighter. Is this something to be worried about?
     
  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Jul 24, 2013
    Does she feel bony, with a sharp breastbone? Does she have any other symptoms, like lethargy, poor appetite, or labored breathing? If she acts/feels fine otherwise, this could just be her natural weight. Although chickens of the same breed do generally share characteristics, each individual bird grows differently and may mature to a different healthy weight.

    Does it look like her feathers are getting plucked out or ripped at by the other birds? If they're picking on her, that could be stressing her out and causing her to lose weight. Additionally, the other chickens could be preventing her from eating enough.

    Alternatively, the feather loss could be normal molting, which can be hard on chickens and cause them to lose weight temporarily. If this appears to be the case, I would probably supplement your thin hen with some high protein foods like mealworms, wet cat food, gamebird grower feed, chick starter feed, etc. The extra protein will help her gain weight and grow in her feathers faster.
     
  3. Tarryn

    Tarryn New Egg

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    Sep 23, 2016
    She does feel pretty bony, and she did go broody a few weeks ago. I didn't notice anything wrong with her until after I got her to stop. If it is the other chickens picking on her, what could I do to prevent that?
     

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