Chickens not using feeder/waterer

Kubotabear

Chirping
May 4, 2019
34
97
69
My chickens have quit using their inside feeder and water.

They have a very large, secure yard they peck and scratch around in, but I think I made a mistake by throwing a couple of scoops of chicken scratch around the ground for them every day. Now it seems they won't eat anything other than the scratch. Half of that they don't eat either because they don't like the cracked corn.

I ended up mixing their layer feed and the scratch because they weren't touching the feed inside. Now I'm afraid if I don't throw some mix around a couple of times a day they won't get the proper nutrition.

They have an outside and inside waterer.

The issue is winter will be here soon and we live in a climate of freezing temps and lots of snow. I know their water won't freeze in the coop and they'll need all their feed when the snow covers the ground.

Will they go back to using the inside food and water when they get hungry/thirsty enough?
 
Nov 28, 2017
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Stop giving treats, like scratch, until they’re eating their formulated feed. Then only give a handful of scratch as a treat a few times a week, it’s not a necessary or complete feed. Formulated feed contains everything they need, e.g layers feed contains higher calcium than other feeds, like chick crumb.
 

SueT

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
May 27, 2015
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Is your feed fresh? (Check date on bag) What kind of Feed is it? (Brand, then crumbles or pellets?) Chickens will balk at old stale or funky smelling feed, many balk at pellets.
My chickens get no other feed, no scratch or other treats until late in the day after they have eaten their chicken feed. You will likely have to make them go cold turkey.
Stop all other forms of feed, they will get hungry enough to eat their regular food, but you're going to have to be strong, they are going to hold out for treats.
Good luck!
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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My Coop
My Coop
My chickens have quit using their inside feeder and water.

They have a very large, secure yard they peck and scratch around in, but I think I made a mistake by throwing a couple of scoops of chicken scratch around the ground for them every day. Now it seems they won't eat anything other than the scratch. Half of that they don't eat either because they don't like the cracked corn.

I ended up mixing their layer feed and the scratch because they weren't touching the feed inside. Now I'm afraid if I don't throw some mix around a couple of times a day they won't get the proper nutrition.

They have an outside and inside waterer.

The issue is winter will be here soon and we live in a climate of freezing temps and lots of snow. I know their water won't freeze in the coop and they'll need all their feed when the snow covers the ground.

Will they go back to using the inside food and water when they get hungry/thirsty enough?

I would stop feeding all treats. Make sure their feeder is clean and has fresh feed in it. When they are hungry enough, they WILL eat it as long as it is fresh.

If the weather has cooled enough that you do not need to have the second outdoor water source, just remove it. Again, make sure the indoor one is very clean with fresh water. Have you seen them using the indoor one?
 

Kubotabear

Chirping
May 4, 2019
34
97
69
The scoop is probably about 2 cups. I have 4 hens and one rooster. I haven't seen them use the inside feeder or water since allowing them outside when they were feathered in enough this spring.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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The scoop is probably about 2 cups. I have 4 hens and one rooster. I haven't seen them use the inside feeder or water since allowing them outside when they were feathered in enough this spring.

That is A LOT of treats for 4 pullets and a cockerel. They do not need it at all and, as has already been mentioned, it should be stopped so they will start eating their proper diet.

What type of feed are you giving them that they were eating but aren't any longer?
 

GC-Raptor

Free Ranging
5 Years
Jul 26, 2016
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The scoop is probably about 2 cups. I have 4 hens and one rooster.
That's enough Scratch Grains as a daily treat for 16 fully grown chickens. 32 Bantams.
My hens get a 1/4 cup per 2 chickens, Max. So 5 chickens, 5 ounces on measure cup, Max.

I would dump out the feeder and wash and dry thoroughly.
If you've had the feed a month stored outside or a couple of months in your house, toss it. Otherwise
Check the feed in the bag. If it smells medicine like or a moldy smell or you see mold, toss it.
If it's powder and used to be crumbles or pellets, it's got grain mites, toss it and buy fresh. GC
 

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