chicken a picky eater??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by pipthepeep, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. pipthepeep

    pipthepeep Chirping

    Aug 19, 2010
    Is it possible for a chicken to be a picky eater?? I thought they were supposed to eat anything and everything, but my roo only seems to like a select few things! I don't think he is sick...he seems perfectly fine (no changes in behavior, and I have never noticed him eating a lot, so it does not seem like he has STOPPED eating...he just does not seem to be a big fan of eating...) I have been checking his crop, and it is not impacted.

    He does not like chicken feed (have tried mash, crumbles, and pellets to no avail)....but when he was younger he used to eat the medicated feed fine. He seems to like whole corn, cream cheese, cottage cheese, probiotic yogurt, wheat/grain bread (on occassion, not all the time), scrambled eggs (only sometimes),and oatmeal (only sometimes)...Oh and he loves soy turkey. He never eats a lot though, just a few bites and then he's done.
    I have tried everything people seem to say that their chickens like (popcorn, spinach, pasta, cabbage, peas...I could go on and on), but he just doesn't care for anything!

    He likes free-ranging and is good at finding bugs, etc...but its not possible for him to free range all the time! When he is not free ranging and I am not around, he literally does not eat:( I leave treats for him and he just doesn't touch them....I could leave him in the run for 2 days and come back and he won't appear to have touched anything!

    Any suggestions? Is it bad for a rooster to not eat chicken feed, or does it not matter as much for roos since they are not laying so the nutrition factor is not quite as important?

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    My guess is, he isn't a picky eater, he is spoiled. He knows if he waits long enough he'll get something good. See if the crop is full or at least partly full at night and empty in the morning, just to be sure he is not sick. If the crop is OK, offer feed only. You may have to tough this out. Like a picky eater human child, you may have to let them go hungry for a day or so, but eventually they will choose not to be hungry. I've never seen a rooster eat for longer than a minute or so at a time. It's like they grab a bite then run to watch over their girls.

    Layer is not really great for roosters; the extra calcium is actually harmful to their organs over the long run. Most people feed layer anyway, of course, because the roo is in with his hens. They really would be better off with a flock raiser or grower. I have recently switched my whole flock to grower with oyster shell on the side; I have never seen a roo touch the oyster shell. I still have a little layer left and everyone is ignoring it; I may actually have to give up and toss the last of it.

    Chickens also resist change or anything new. I had to get mine to accept BOSS by mixing it with a favorite treat.

    The thing about any chicken not eating feed is that feed is formulated (supposedly) with all the required nutrients, vitamins, minerals, all that. It's hard to match that with human foods.
  3. vtgirls

    vtgirls Songster

    May 20, 2010
    Have you tried raisins? My Mama hen seems convinced that they are bugs and holds them in her beak clucking madly until her babies come running for them. She hasnt done this with any other food and real bugs here are frozen under all the snow - so could be worth a shot with your roo?

    (yes, I know he needs a well rounded diet but I love the testing out of snacks on selective eaters!)
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011
  4. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Mine eat anything not nailed down. [​IMG] I think it is because my flock numbers 21. They have always just gobbled up anything that hits the ground. Only thing they will not eat is privet hedge leaves and honeysuckle leaves. Or that is the only thing I have found so far.

    Am guessing that a smaller flock would not gobble up everything so fast as mine do.

  5. pipthepeep

    pipthepeep Chirping

    Aug 19, 2010
    Thanks for the advice:) I will try raisins and the next bag of feed I buy will be Grower rather than Layer...maybe he will like it better anyway. I only have three chickens and the hens don't lay anymore anyway (too old), so that would probably be better in the long run. Good guess that he is spoiled...he definitely is....but, on the other hand, I did try the tough love method, with no fresh treats, for almost a week-- and I swear that darn bird didn't eat anything!!!! Even all the corn and sunflower seeds were exactly as I left them...and the feed hadn't been touched:( He always has green droppings anyway, which I know is likely a sign of not eating enough...I have checked his is never "full" but it is discernible at night and empty in the morning. As long as he doesn't show any signs of sickness, I will just leave it be and keep trying! I have noticed that his favorite things to peck at are those things that are not edible (at least not healthy anyway, like newspaper and paint chips) ....maybe he just has a screwed up eating instinct!

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