How To Help A Sick Chicken Gain Weight (5 Things To Feed Them)

When chickens get sick, they start to lose the desire to eat and drink, many illnesses can cause chickens to starve.

If the bird’s body doesn’t have enough fuel from the food that the bird eats then it will eventually shut down. You can prevent this from happening by making sure your bird eats if it looks too slim. This article looks at how to help a sick chicken gain weight 

How to help a sick chicken gain weight: 

If a chicken becomes sick it will go downhill quite fast, especially if it’s losing weight fast. This is why taking the “wait and see” approach with an underweight chicken doesn’t always work well for these animals.

Sick chickens won’t want to eat that much, this is why you need to feed the bird high-calorie foods that are also nutrient-rich. The bird having even only a few bites of these foods will still be good for them. 

This is what you can feed sick underweight chickens:

Cracked corn: Cracked corn contains carbohydrates, this micronutrient will go a long way toward adding weight to your sick bird and thus improving the health of your sick bird. Make sure that this food is always readily available to your birds. 

Dried mealworms: Protein is another way to add healthy weight to your bird, dried mealworms are a great protein source for chickens. One dried mealworm contains around 50 percent protein 

Other foods: Other foods that you can feed to your bird to help it put on weight include oatmeal, wholewheat bread soaked in milk, high-fat seeds, and cottage cheese. All these foods are either high in protein or high in carbs.

Treats: It is usually recommended that treats only make up 10 percent of our bird’s diet but if your bird is underweight you can offer the bird more treats to help it gain more weight, giving the bird healthy treats is recommended.

Healthy bird treats include cooked meat scraps, cooked sweet potato, pumpkin, and squash.

Feed: Make sure that you’re still feeding your sick chicken the same feed that you had been feeding it, whether this is a layer feed, grower feed, or a maintenance feed.

If your bird is not interested in the feed then you may need to wet the feed and create a mash to get the bird interested in it. Throw away the old feed and make a new batch every 12-24 hours.

Giving the bird fermented feed is also recommended. 

Water with additions: Sick chickens need water, adding molasses, honey, or syrup to their water supply will improve the water and deliver more nutrients to the bird. All these additions contain all sorts of illness fighting properties

You can also add supplements to the bird’s water. Note: be careful when adding supplements to your bird’s water, check whether the supplements that you give are appropriate for the bird’s ailment  

What else will help: 


Liver is the densest meat there is, chickens will happily gobble it up if given to them. Eating liver is nothing new to chickens, these birds will eat the liver of any animal they catch, this includes lizards and other small animals 


Chicken eggs are a great food to feed your sick chicken, chickens love eating eggs. You can use quail eggs if you don’t like the idea of feeding chicken eggs to chickens.

When making eggs for chickens, be sure to make them unrecognizable before feeding them to your birds.

Do not feed your birds raw eggs with the shell on or whole boiled eggs, doing this will show birds that they can break their own eggs and eat them in the future.

If you boil the eggs make sure to chop the eggs up to a point where they are unrecognizable to the birds. Scrambled eggs are a great food to give to your chickens because they are soft, easy to eat, and unrecognizable. 

Raw apple cider vinegar:

Raw apple cider vinegar may not help the bird gain weight but if your bird is sick with any digestive issues then this vinegar can help with that. You can add a small amount of this vinegar to the sick birds drinking water.

Add apple cider vinegar to the rest of your flock’s drinking water as well.

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other chicken related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Electrolytes And Probiotics For Chickens, Traumatized Chicken Behavior, Do Chickens Feel Pain?, Lethargic Baby Chick With Closed Eyes, Chicken Having Trouble Walking And Standing

How To Help A Sick Chicken Gain Weight (5 Things To Feed Them)
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