Changing chicken feed: a horror story

janiedoe

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I am so sorry for the loss of your birds! It is wonderful that you are willing to share this. So many people do not appreciate the importance of good nutrition. I often let my flock "snack" too much. I occasionally see a drop in eggs and realize that I've let them coerce me into feeding them too much scratch.
Good luck with your remaining flock.
 

janiedoe

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I know there is (supposedly) less waste with pellets, but does any chicken care for them? I've bought pellet feed in the past and mine just scatter them all over the ground. They will only eat them as a very last resort.
I'm a "cookie grandma" kind of girl; I will give them a treat because I feel guilty if they hate "dinner".
 

DobieLover

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Jul 23, 2018
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I am very sorry that this happened to you and your flock. It sounds like a terrible loss.
I, like @rosemarythyme, am curious to know if you ever tried fermenting the feed.

I feed a homemade mix of grains, Fertrell Poultry-nutribalancer and fish meal so the vast majority of the protein and all the extra vitamins and minerals are fines. I ferment the feed for 3 days, strain off the water and use it to start the next batch. I add Flock Raiser to the drained ferment to get the consistency good and feed. Because of the fermentation, the fines stick to everything and it balances out the feed well. I've never had an issue with illness or low weight birds.

The feeds you tried sound high quality and I'd try them myself if they were available in my area but only if I fermented them. You may want to give it a try again with careful observation. From your description, I think the pellets would break up during fermentation and coat everything. You could also add back a high quality crumble or pelleted dry feed to the drained fermented mix to further balance the final product.

Best of luck for a full recovery of your flock. :hugs
 

ThatTeowonna

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Oct 12, 2020
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What a nightmare!
I can imagine the gut wrenching you went through. I know what it's like to throw Corid, Permethrin, Poultry powder, Essential oil spray, ACV, Garlic etc etc at them, hoping to eradicate the problem. My brother finally told me "Dude feed and water the birds and leave them the heck alone". Meanwhile I'm over here pampering with the "better" feeds and worrying about every sneeze and tail that is down.
Happy to hear about the clutch and hopefully things will relax a bit.
Great advice... for me too!
 

ThatTeowonna

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Oct 12, 2020
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I know there is (supposedly) less waste with pellets, but does any chicken care for them? I've bought pellet feed in the past and mine just scatter them all over the ground. They will only eat them as a very last resort.
I'm a "cookie grandma" kind of girl; I will give them a treat because I feel guilty if they hate "dinner".
The only difference is when your grandkids go back home, they have parents that return them to their regular, more balanced diet. Your chickens don’t have that. So you ‘grandma cookies’ can be detrimental to their health.
 

janiedoe

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The only difference is when your grandkids go back home, they have parents that return them to their regular, more balanced diet. Your chickens don’t have that. So you ‘grandma cookies’ can be detrimental to their health.
Yes ma'am I know. That's why I limit the scratch. It is hard. They "cry" & beg.
 

Acre4Me

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Nov 12, 2017
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I know there is (supposedly) less waste with pellets, but does any chicken care for them? I've bought pellet feed in the past and mine just scatter them all over the ground. They will only eat them as a very last resort.
I'm a "cookie grandma" kind of girl; I will give them a treat because I feel guilty if they hate "dinner".

LOL! The main “treat” I give myflock is wet feed! The treat sprinkled on top is either the Kalmbach HR I mentioned above, scratch, or scrambled eggs. That way the go bananas got their feed and gobble it all up. It’s not fermented, just feed mixed with water until batter consistency. The bins come back clean ... can chickens “lick the bowl”, bc it sure seems that way!!

one way to minimize the mess with pellets is to hang their feeder at back height. Also get a feeder that has baffles or similar to prevent them from swiping side to side.
 

RoosterML

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Nov 5, 2018
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Very sorry to hear about this! Just wondering if you ever tried fermenting or wetting the feed at any point (to even up their nutrient consumption) and if that made any difference?
I’m not a fan of whole grain feeds. How would fermentation have helped this situation? Fermentation works with pellet or crumble feed in a few days but would take way to long before whole grains would break down.
 

BuckeyeFoodie

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Mar 29, 2013
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I really appreciate your post. For the last week or so I have considered switching my girls to a similar feed. As you said, I was warned before even buying a bag. The concern about them potentially not eating the pellet was weighing on me. Your post is the confirmation that I needed.

I would definitely do what feels best to you in this situation. And the pellet isn't bad, it's just bad as a sole ration...
 

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