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My chickens won't eat fermented feed - any ideas?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I began feeding my pullets fermented feed when they were about 3 weeks old. They did ok with it, but started not wanting to eat it as they got older. I restarted a batch thinking it got too funky, but they still ate somewhat reluctantly. As they have gotten older, they have been less and less willing to eat much of it. When I started letting them range, they foraged voraciously, and acted like they were starving when they got any treats. So I tried throwing some dry feed on the ground, and they went after it like crazy - I realized how hungry they were and (very guiltily) started giving them some dry feed, first by throwing as scratch, and finally dry food in a feeder. 

 

I still would like them to eat at least some fermented feed, but they won't touch it. I have tried restarting it a few times, in case it got too funky for them, and finally started doing it in separate new rotating batches of 3 days each. Then I tried giving them the 2 day batch in case the 3 day was too long. I have tried with and without ACV. No help. It doesn't smell remotely bad to me. I'm at a loss at this point. 

 

I am using a local organic non-GMO pullet developer feed that I'd like to keep using (Coyote Creek). 

 

Any ideas? I hate to just give up, but it's becoming an exercise in waste at this point...

 

- Ant Farm

post #2 of 4

Did your chicks come from hatchery stock? It's hard to verify this, but I have heard that some hatchery stock are so accustomed to dry feed that they are prone to refuse to eat anything but. If this has any truth to it, I expect it would depend upon the particular breed and breeding program (aka, how decent are the genetics of that particular breed line).

 

Was your fermented feed consistency thick like thick oatmeal or runny like watery soup? If it's too runny, they won't eat it as well.

 

You could also try top dressing the fermented feed with something you know they like. Top dress with dry feed, corn, bread, yogurt, etc. Also a feeder might make the difference, I use this one we made:

 

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdirt View Post
 

Did your chicks come from hatchery stock? It's hard to verify this, but I have heard that some hatchery stock are so accustomed to dry feed that they are prone to refuse to eat anything but. If this has any truth to it, I expect it would depend upon the particular breed and breeding program (aka, how decent are the genetics of that particular breed line).

 

Was your fermented feed consistency thick like thick oatmeal or runny like watery soup? If it's too runny, they won't eat it as well.

 

You could also try top dressing the fermented feed with something you know they like. Top dress with dry feed, corn, bread, yogurt, etc. Also a feeder might make the difference, I use this one we made:

 


Interesting... I have Cream Legbars from a hatchery (Meyer, via My Pet Chicken). 

 

Consistency is like thick oatmeal. They pick a bit at it, they just don't eat much at all. I feed it to them in a small metal cat food bowl (they eat so little that I don't put enough out to fill the planned feeder I was going to build - I would just have to throw a lot of uneaten feed out). Top dressing is a good idea - I'll try that. Thanks!

 

- Ant Farm


Edited by Fire Ant Farm - 7/3/15 at 8:24pm
post #4 of 4

Mine have just started turning their nose up at fermented feed and seem to prefer filling up on the same (organic, non-GMO, fancypants) pellets dry from their feeder. I usually don't keep free feed pellets in their run, but I had some extra that didn't fit in my storage bin, so I gave it to them. Now they are being obstinate! Unfortunately for me, I have a gorgeous jar of fermented pellet waiting for them. They will eat it one way or another. :D

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