Baby chicks scratching all the food out of their feeder

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Pip4Chirp, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. Pip4Chirp

    Pip4Chirp Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2014
    My baby chicks are just a few days old but much more active than the last batch. They are busy dawn til dusk scratching out all the powdery chick feed out of the (standard red plastic) feeder. They aren't really pooping in the pile of food but it's a big mess. Is it ok to leave it and let them eat it off the paper towels (which were placed on top of the pine shavings as they were busy eating all the shavings, which the last batch didn't do either).

    It's funny to me that these chicks (golden laced wyandottes) are so different from the last chicks (silver laced wyandottes) when they are the same breed. They are (of course) totally adorable and very friendly but I'm not sure how to handle the chick feed problem.

    Has anyone else had this problem?
  2. N&MSchroeder

    N&MSchroeder Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2011
    SE Idaho
    Yes, chicks love to scratch in their feed and it does make a mess. They can/will eat it off of the paper towels. You might want to give them some dirt/sand to dig in. This probably won't stop them from scratching in their feed, but it is fun to watch and it may slow down the feed digging. I found an old frisbee and filled it up with dirt and set it in their pen. They loved it [​IMG]but there was a lot of dirt flying around. Enjoy.
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    I set my chick feeders up on a plastic child's plate. It raises it up enough that the can't get their feet in it to scratch out the feed, and it helps keep shavings out. Then, as they get bigger, I put it up on a piece of 2x4 on top of the plate. After that, they graduate to the trough style feeders that I use for my adults. Like these. They try to scratch the feed out, but can't. Love them.
  4. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    Ferment the feed. Stops the waste.
  5. Pip4Chirp

    Pip4Chirp Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2014
    Thanks for the great ideas! I was looking for something to keep them busy and I've got a frisbee handy. I'll also elevate the water - so far they haven't kicked anything in the water which astounds me. They're so cute but it'll be fun when they go outside with the big girls. :) Thanks much!!!!
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
  6. jessivogel

    jessivogel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2014
    Palisade, NE
    I had problems with ours kicking their shavings into their feeder. I put a 2x6 in the brooder. It's long enough to put both their feeder and water on it.
    In our other one (where the youngest go) I put in a short/wide Tupperware dish. Then, I put the feeder and waterer on them.
  7. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2012
    I had the scratching problem with my first chicks, I used two methods combined to stop it.

    I hung the feeder from a chain so it was not stable if they did try to get up on it.

    I also took some masking tape and blocked off part of the feeder ports, so now then can eat from it but there's less room to get in and scratch around.

    With the combination of these two modifications I've had very little trouble with scratching out of food.

    Another option that I used in my adult "Isolation" pen was to put some HW cloth inside the feeder just under the ports. They can eat through the HW cloth but it's too small for them to get their feet past and into the feed.
  8. CalgaryFarmer

    CalgaryFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    See the chick feeder in my signature for a solution. They might be too young for this right now but the problem will get worse.
  9. CalgaryFarmer

    CalgaryFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    The other thing people do is simply wet the feed. I have not done that.
  10. Pip4Chirp

    Pip4Chirp Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2014
    For now, I've put the feeder inside a frisbee and put the frisbee on top of a metal box, maybe 2 inches high. It seemed to work well yesterday - we'll see about today. You all are so creative! I'm so lucky to have your help!! :)

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