Are my chickens getting enough to eat?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jahphotogal, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. jahphotogal

    jahphotogal Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2012
    All my girls are now past 20 weeks, so I recently switched from grower to layer feed. They don't seem to like it - it's big pellets instead of the little crumbs they used to get. I think they are eating it but I"m not sure. I put it in one of those metal feeders where you fill the center part and it falls down under a divider to a tray, but it gets clogged and I have to shake it to get more of the pellets to shift down into the eating tray. (I"m not describing it well - here's a picture of the kind I have, from Tractor Supply.) They used to stand on top and eat from the center, but the squirrels were getting in so I covered the opening with hardware cloth.
    They get to hang out in my yard during the day, but it's a pretty small space - a couple hundred square feet of lawn, with some bushes and flowers and stuff and I worry they've eaten everything good there by now. (There are 5 of them.) They come running whenever I come out because they know I will bring them a little treat - mealworms, some seeds, some grapes. It SEEMS like they're even more enthusiastic about me since we switched to layer feed - as if they're extra hungry.

    They look very healthy, but haven't started laying yet (the oldest are about 27 weeks) . I did just add a light to the coop, but want to be sure that nutrition isn't also an issue.

    What can I do to make sure they have enough to eat?
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I have a feeder like that, which I hate. Being metal and with our humidity, it gets condensation, which moistens the feed, which then sticks to the feeder. So I bought a couple of cheap plastic feeders. The design is similar , you find them everywhere; usually they are mostly white with a red tray. Much happier with them -- no clumping and the feed moves down without difficulty.

    They will eat the pellet feed when they are hungry. When I buy layer feed, I always buy pellets. Much less waste. I've never had any trouble getting them to switch from a grower crumble, but even flocks who resist at first, I've read several times, will eat the pellets eventually. They're not going to go hungry if pellets are available.
  3. MamaRudey

    MamaRudey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sometimes they don't like the pellets. Give them some time to adjust, if they're looking skinny or your still worried switch them back to a crumble.
  4. mtnviewfarms

    mtnviewfarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Those metal feeders in your photo do best when they are used as hanging feeders. I had
    the same problem as you describe before my husband got around to getting on a ladder and
    hanging them for me.

    When they are hanging they have three different 'level adjustments' and if not enough food is
    getting into the tray you just adjust it up so more comes out.

    I've never had chickens 'love' the switch from crumbles to pellets so I always do half and half
    for a couple of weeks and then just pellets and that seems to help them 'transition' better and
    get used to the new food type.

    Also, when it's hanging they can't sit on top of it and poop the food. When I did have it on the
    floor of the covered run ( and I do this with the large waterers as well and it works great ) I got
    some of those big plastic bowls ( like for Halloween candy ) at the recycle store or at the 'Everything is a Dollar' store and turn them upside down and put them on top of the feeder and waterer and
    that keeps them from pooping in it because they can't 'keep their balance' and fall off - problem

  5. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2012
    Northern Colorado
    We switched from mash to pellets to cut down on the waste too. We started by mixing the let them get used to the different texture, and the transition went quite smoothly. We have 2 of the el cheapo plastic feeders you screw a quart jar into and haven't had any issues with clogging or anything. We fill them once a day and our 6 girls eat a little over half of each of them.
  6. jahphotogal

    jahphotogal Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2012
    Thanks, everyone!!
  7. TheTropix

    TheTropix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2012
    Piney Woods in Texas
    Hey everyone,
    I had the same problem.. the chickens don't like the laying pellets. Then somewhere on here, I think, someone suggested wetting it down. It worked like a charm. I've wet it some and stir a little and it'll break up. I'm also finding they chow down if I just spray it down with the water hose a little. That's easier, too. Scatter & wet. YUM lol Hope this helps.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by