Chickens scattering their food

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by lynnski61, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. lynnski61

    lynnski61 New Egg

    3
    1
    9
    Apr 15, 2014
    Every day I come home from work to find my chickens have scattered their food all over the run. I have raised the feeder to a bit above the level of their backs but it is still happening. A few (4 or 5?) weeks ago I switched to pelleted food, but they only just started making the mess last week. What can I do to keep them from wasting all of their feed?
    Thanks!
    Tara
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    20,162
    8,675
    596
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    Tara, my best recommendation is to switch to fermented feed. What is your day time temp?
     
  3. Eagleeyeice

    Eagleeyeice Chillin' With My Peeps

    How can they do that? What kida feeder to you use? I have a galvanized feeder and see no problem with that.. Just wondering.
     
  4. lynnski61

    lynnski61 New Egg

    3
    1
    9
    Apr 15, 2014
    Our daytime temperatures have been in the upper 30s to low 40s. I use a plastic hanging feeder.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,685
    9,171
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,479
    3,864
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    If it started a month after you switched, it does sound like something else just happened. Rats, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, wild birds, even skunks or possums may have recently found a free source of food. That is certainly something to consider. Good comment Aart. I would not have thought of that.

    I don’t know what your hanging plastic feeder looks like but a few ideas to minimize waste from the chickens scattering the feed. Feed waste is a big problem.

    Chickens love to scratch in their feed, so make sure they can’t. Since yours is hanging, you have handled that.

    Chickens like to rake their beak side to side when they eat. This can rake the feed out onto the ground. If you can stop them from raking their heads you can really help yourself. Maybe use something with holes like Aart’s or something with wires with holes big enough that allows them to peck through but stops them from raking.

    The big advantage to raising a feeder is to stop them from scratching bedding and other trash into the feed. I’m not really convinced it helps reduce feed wastage that much. But one way that can help reduce wastage is to elevate the feeder and put something under it to catch stuff that is raked out. That needs to be high enough out of the bedding that they don’t cover it up with bedding from their scratching. Pellets work pretty well with this since they are big enough that the chickens will eat many of the pellets that fall out.

    Another method is top wet the feed. Instead of a dry feed, wet it enough to make a paste out of it. This is pretty standard with mash to help keep the different ingredients from separating. They will still rake some out so something like holes or wires to stop them form that raking motion really helps. But don’t let the wet feed stay long enough to mold. If you use wet feed you need for them to clean it up every day. Let them finish it before you give them some more.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by