Chickens not eating food?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by KDOGG331, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,326
    1,144
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    Hey everyone, so on Thursday or so I went to the feed store to get more chicken food since they were out. Well, since they also turned 16 weeks today I switched them from crumbles to adult pellets. I just said I needed layer pellets 50 pound and they grabbed one, I think nutrena. I want to go back next time and buy more than one so we don't have to go back but also cause i want to try nature smart or nature wise. Not sure it comes in 50 pounds.

    ANYWAY.

    That's not my problem.

    My problem is that with the crumbles they would gobble the tray (currently using a round metal cake pan i think, pretty big) in a day or two. Now they have barely touched it. The first day or two they did and I did add more to it so maybe thats why it looks less full but still. It's now been several days. I even toss it on the ground and they won't touch it.

    I THINK maybe the pieces are too big? Not sure but they eat it when I break it up but I don't wanna have to break up every piece. But maybe they don't like the taste either? Is there another option like crumbles for adults or not?

    I was thinking I may have to try fermented feed but that's extra work I reallyyyyyy don't want to do.

    HOWEVER.

    I think that there might be another problem.....

    Me.

    I have been extremely heavy handed with the BOSS and cracked corn lately, even before we switched, and when we ran out of corn, extra BOSS, but I just bought more corn from the store the other day. We also have had almost record cold this weekend so I put them in the garage Saturday and yesterday night and out during the day. I felt bad/they needed to stay warm so I gave them more.

    And today came the real proof..

    Went outside with feed, BOSS, and cracked corn. Tossed some feed on the ground first and tried to hand feed it. An Orpington, who normally LOVE food, looked at me like "what is this ****!?" And waited for the goods. Same with an Easter Egger. Several were crowding me. Toss the BOSS and corn and the rest all come running and devouring it. I think they even go so far as to starve until I feed it. And I ALSO went crazy before I put them back out and spread corn and BOSS all over the run to try to break up some compacted shavings so they got extra servings.

    Soooooo....

    This week is supposed to be 40s so not too cold so might this be a good time to stop the treats completely?

    Initially I planned on stopping them when I first got the food so they would learn it's food but then I didn't/felt bad.

    Should I try other methods, like trying a new brand or new feed form or fermenting, or should I just stop the treats all together or both? Maybe they should only be a winter and molting treat?

    My concern though now is that if I stop giving them treats that they will starve to death. Is this true?
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    63,773
    9,384
    766
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Generally when switching feed it is a good idea to mix the new with the old gradually increasing the % of the new. As far as the corn, boss, and other treats - your birds have you well trained.
     
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    20,826
    4,016
    421
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    They will not starve themselves. If all they have available is feed, they will eventually eat it. They can actually go pretty long without eating much at all, just consider how little a broody hen eats. As long as they have water, they will be fine, and they will eventually eat their feed.
     
  4. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    BOSS and corn should be fed as treats only. Meaning a handful o two and no more than that. Believe me when I tell you a chicken will not starve itself waiting for treats. When they get hungry enough, they will eat the pellets.
     
  5. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,326
    1,144
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    Thank you both for the info!! I hadn't even considered mixing it! Which is weird cause I know it's usually recommended for dogs and other animals. As for the treats, yup! They definitely have me trained! The dog does too LOL I can't say no

    And so @junebuggena and @sourland do you think I should buy a smaller bag of their old chick starter/grower and start mixing or do you think if I just stop feeding them treats completely and check their water that they will eventually eat their food?
     
  6. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,326
    1,144
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts

    Just saw this one. Anyway, yeah, it started as a handful of corn and handful of BOSS every night and sometimes morning and progressed to a couple handfuls of each every day when i go out there. Not every single time i go out, it's still only once a day, but much more gets tossed now. That's good to know though that they will eat the pellets. So should I stop the treats and wait for them to start eating them?
     
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    20,826
    4,016
    421
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    I, personally, would keep them all one the grower feed until they are all laying. I've got a flock with mixed ages and roosters, so I don't even bother with layer feed at all. Layer feed is meant to be the only thing that the flock is fed, and if you offer too many goodies you will upset the nutrient balance and have protein deficiencies in the flock (poor production, egg eating, feather picking). If you want to feed layer, than you will need to keep those treats very limited. If you want to continue treating them with corn and BOSS, grower with oyster shell offered separately is the way to go.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
  8. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,326
    1,144
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts

    Wait really? I always just assumed they had to had to be fed layer feed and went with what the bag and people said, to switch over at 16 weeks or whatever. I hadn't even realized that keeping them on the other stuff was an option. Maybe I'll have to try switching back. Although I really should limit treats anyways. Although I'm wondering, if they catch their own bugs and stuff, which they aren't now, does that count as treats and something they shouldn't eat on layer feed or is it more the boss, corn, people food stuff?
     
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    20,826
    4,016
    421
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Free range birds should also be kept on a grower. There is no magic ingredient in layer feed. In fact, it's not really the best feed choice for the majority of backyard flocks. It's got barely enough protein in it to support egg production, so it's very easy for a flock to not get enough protein if they get other stuff in addition to the feed. And it's got a lot of calcium add, which can be harmful to birds that aren't laying due to age, gender, molt, or brooding. Layer feed is great, if all of your birds are producing, and if extras never exceed 10% of the total daily diet.
     
  10. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,326
    1,144
    426
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts

    Wow thanks for all the great info! Never knew all that! So then should I keep them on chick food a while or is there an all flock type thing more suitable to adults? I always just assumed they had to be on layer feed. Although don't bugs and BOSS and other things contain a lot of protein too so that it would maybe be fixed or not really?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by