Attacked by starving bird?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by dawny2u2, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. dawny2u2

    dawny2u2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2009
    Winston, MT
    I was feeding crumbles, and supplementing with scratch, when I switched to pellets, I noticed some days the food was hardly touched. Other days, it was emptied. Now.. the weather has changed, due to snow and cold, they will not go outside. Chickens!
    But ...they are not eating the pellets out of the hanging feeder I have inside. I toss scratch in there to keep them busy, but when I went in last night with a bag with some treats, the most aggressive gal, starting pecking the bag, and then pecking me! They seem to be starving! I am inside now grinding the pellets up in the blender, and wondering if I have spoiled them with "extras"... or they are just not bright enough to figure out the feeder (I was feeding outside in big metal bowls). I bought a new bag of chicken feed, and IT turned out to be mash...which looks like dust. Any suggestions to encourage them to eat their chicken feed? How do I know if they are starving, or just spoiled?
  2. werecatrising

    werecatrising Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 4, 2009
    What does their body condition look like? I know mine can have a feeder full of food, and still go berserk every they see me coming. They all look good, and do eat their feed, so I don't worry.
  3. Godsgrl

    Godsgrl Ostrich wrangler

    Aug 27, 2007
    at the zoo usually
    Some birds just don't like pellets. Ours are spoiled, and prefer mash for sure. They'll nibble at the pellets, but devour the mash. Chickens are greedy though, and always act starving. Then you pick them up, and their crops are full to burst. Good luck!
  4. SC_Hugh

    SC_Hugh Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Santa Cruz, CA
    How old are your hens? They don't like to switch feeds quickly (you are seeing that first hand), it is better to mix feeds slowly over time with the old feed. I suggest mixing the old and new together 50/50 or even a higher percentage of what they prefer in the beginning...

    I switched my small flock over to mini-lay pellets King Brand (not available in most areas). I started offering 80/20% crumble and mini lay pellets two months ago. Now, they are 20/80% (mostly pellets). At the end of the day, all of the pellets are gone and almost all of the crumble except the dust.

    In their run, they feed in two trough feeders and inside the coop is a hanging bucket feeder. Crumbles seem to clog up the bucket feeder, so next month I am switching over completely to mini pellets inside and 90% pellets outside.

    Good luck,

  5. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    I do think they can starve when presented with a drastic change in feed. There's a woman on here--Orpington Manor--who had that exact problem. One of her hens developed problems and eventually died. The vet told her that it was not a good idea to switch to pellets after they had become adults, because they identify food by sight and learn when young. I know that recently I had some feed (organic, no less) that I thought did not look or smell right, and consumption went way down. Went back to the previous diet and they started eating it again. Keep a close eye on consumption and make sure their crops are full at bedtime.
  6. dawny2u2

    dawny2u2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2009
    Winston, MT
    Thank you, thank you! All good suggestions. They do look healthy, and (dare I admit it) never thought to check their crops. Will do that, also try mixing the mash with the pellets, and keep in mind they are greedy creatures!
  7. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    They hate change- moistening the pellets with water for a while will help.

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