Are my chickens too fat? This could be a problem.
It's important that your chickens are a healthy weight. Do they look overweight or bloated? You should ask yourself, Are my hens too fat?
A good backyard chicken keeper pays attention to the size of their chickens. If they are concerned, they should keep a note of any weight fluctuations to help identify if your chicken is under stress or worse, ill.
Signs your chicken is overweight
Unfortunately, the feathers can sometimes make it difficult to tell exactly how much weight your chickens are actually carrying. Here are some clues that your chicken is overweight
- Your hen may have difficulty laying eggs
- Stays in a small chicken coop, without much exercise
- Primarily eats scratch mixes and kitchen scraps
- It is difficult to feel your chickens keel bone
Why does it matter if my Chicken is Fat?
Excess weight on a chicken will ultimately affect their liver health, causing fatty liver haemorrhagic syndrome. Fat fills the liver making it fragile, prone to bursting. Another problem obese chickens face is heat exhaustion. The excess weight prevents to chicken from regulating their own body temperature, this can cause major distress - even death.
A fat, plump chicken may look like the ideal standard; however, by not keeping its weight in check, you are causing the hen uncomfortable distress.
Weigh your chickens
This might sound like an absurd question, but when is the last time you weighed your chicken? Did you know that adult chickens generally stay at the same weight for most of their adult life? Weighing your chickens will give you an insight into your chickens health; offering an upper hand against stress related illnesses and disease.
Does my Chicken need to go on a diet?
Once you have ruled out any illnesses which could cause weight gain in chickens, it is time to give your chicken a new diet and exercise regime with limited treats.
At this time, it is crucial to read our article on what a healthy chicken diet looks like. This will include more protein, less scratch mix and little to no kitchen scraps. Scratch feeds are high in carbohydrates and holds little nutritional value.
Encouraging your hens to forage for greens is good for their diet and also provides good exercise. A free-ranging hen will have less weight problems than a caged hen.
Illnesses that can cause weight gain in chickens
In general, chicken illnesses and afflictions will cause weight loss due to reduced appetite or feeding.
- Parasitic worms
- Artificial lighting. This can make the chickens confused with what time to eat.
- Antibiotic use
Read Also: The best Feed for Laying Hens