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Feed Suggestions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello! I have 3 white leghorn hens that I have had for about 1.5 years. They prefer to roost up on the rafters of my barn vs a coop. They are free range chickens. I am just wondering if anyone has tips/suggestions on how to get them to eat any of the feed I provide for them? The only thing I can get them to eat are sunflower seeds and mealworms; the rest of their diet is whatever they eat outside. I have not had any other chickens but I feel like they look much thinner than most other chickens I see. I have tried many good brands of pellets/grain and made a fresh chop my vet suggested but nothing. Any input would be greatly appreciated! Does anyone else have this problem? They seem fine but just seem lean compared to others I've seen! Thanks!!
post #2 of 9

Leghorns are pretty skinny breeds, though if they look sickly thin (you could post a picture if possible?) chickens can get worms that can cause a drop in weight, do you think parasites could be an issue? You could try moistening the food and turn it into mash and see if they like it, but in all honesty if they don't seem interested in the food it could be just that they get enough to eat by free ranging :)

A proud member of 4h and a strong bearer of the Pacific Northwest and its Cold, not to mention a chicken mommy of 3 Cochins, 1 Sicilian Buttercup, 2 Bantam EE, 1 RIR/EE Mix, 1 Mille Fleur Booted Bantam, and 2 bantam OEGB's, a Black Bearded Silkie and a double laced silver Plymouth Bantam!
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A proud member of 4h and a strong bearer of the Pacific Northwest and its Cold, not to mention a chicken mommy of 3 Cochins, 1 Sicilian Buttercup, 2 Bantam EE, 1 RIR/EE Mix, 1 Mille Fleur Booted Bantam, and 2 bantam OEGB's, a Black Bearded Silkie and a double laced silver Plymouth Bantam!
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 


Thank you for your response!  They are acting normal and don't look sickly.  One of my hens just had a visit to the vet and she had no parasites.  I think you're correct in that it's just their breed. I've tried a mash and they are not interested :/  

Thanks for the reassurance ;)

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by bethmikulic View Post

Hello! I have 3 white leghorn hens that I have had for about 1.5 years. They prefer to roost up on the rafters of my barn vs a coop. They are free range chickens. I am just wondering if anyone has tips/suggestions on how to get them to eat any of the feed I provide for them? The only thing I can get them to eat are sunflower seeds and mealworms; the rest of their diet is whatever they eat outside. I have not had any other chickens but I feel like they look much thinner than most other chickens I see. I have tried many good brands of pellets/grain and made a fresh chop my vet suggested but nothing. Any input would be greatly appreciated! Does anyone else have this problem? They seem fine but just seem lean compared to others I've seen! Thanks!!

Hi, try this....

 

Feed and water in the morning and do not let out to free range till around noon...They will eat the feed......

 

 

Best of luck...

 

 

Cheers!

post #5 of 9

Mine free-ranged for about a year and ate almost ZERO feed in that time.   They  laid lots of eggs, so I assume they were finding just what they needed.    But because of predators, I now have them confined, and they have had to get used to eating feed again.    I'd say don't worry.  About feed anyway.    

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 


I am unable to confine them bc they fly up in my barn rafters.  They stopped using a coop a year ago.  They are white leghorns and fly well. I gave up trying to confine them.  Thank you for the suggestion though! 

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by bethmikulic View Post
 


I am unable to confine them bc they fly up in my barn rafters.  They stopped using a coop a year ago.  They are white leghorns and fly well. I gave up trying to confine them.  Thank you for the suggestion though! 

Just another thought?

 

You could retrain them to the coop by confining them for 7 to 10 days and then they will eat the feed and go to the Coop to roost at night....Not sure if that is an option for you?

 

 

Cheers!

post #8 of 9

I'd not worry a bit about them not eating their feed.  But, why would they want to?  They are getting plenty of wonderful feed by free ranging all day.  And IMO, it's better quality and a better nutritional balance than anything that will come out of a bag.  Then, you are also giving them chick candy with the meal worms and sunflower feeds.  As other posters have said, leghorns are  Mediterranean birds.  That group of birds are not as beefy looking as the European and American breeds.  If you're concerned about their nutrition, you could with hold the meal worms and sun flower seeds, and simply put out their layer feed.  Are you getting any eggs?  You might try not feeding them at all, and then give them a bit of layer when they come in to roost in the late afternoon.  You might even try fermenting it.  How old is the feed you have?  That might be an other issue.  It starts to go rancid 42 days after mill date.

Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey  

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-lazy-gardener

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors

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Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey  

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-lazy-gardener

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors

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post #9 of 9

Yep, they should be thinner than most other chickens. Dual purpose hens are going to be a good 2+ lbs heavier than a Leghorn. Leghorns are bred to be small, with wonderful feed conversion. 

 

If they're active, healthy, good feather quality and productive as appropriate for age and time of year, I'd say you're good. Continue to offer them feed, and oyster shell if laying, and let them do their thing. 

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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