Chicks & mum not eating mash


In the Brooder
7 Years
Oct 16, 2012
Hi, I currently have 7 one-week-old chicks (from the same clutch) living inside with their mum. For the first few days they were fine with eating the mash I provided them with, but since then they haven't been eating much of it. They still make plenty of 'hungry' cheeping noises and the mum is doing what seems like her 'I'm trying, darlings' cluck most of the day .. It's like she doesn't see the mash as appropriate 'food' and is constantly trying to find other morsels for them. Because they live with her, basically the only thing they eat is what she clucks at, so the organic mash sits by not getting eaten!

Has anyone experienced similar problems? What do I do to get them eating the mash? With encouragement they will pick at it for a bit, then get bored and look for something else. I don't want to separate the mum her from her babies, I want that to happen when she is ready ..

She feeds them grass when let outside (their enclosure is right near the back door), but I get the feeling what she's really looking for is creepy crawlies, which there isn't much of in that area of the yard, and they don't seem to want to stray too far ..
At 7 weeks they are pretty capable.

They could be just fine and getting everything they need from ouside. Are they growing? Active? There are more creepy crawlies then you think in the grass and dirt. Check their crop at night to see if it is full. If not put some crumble in the coop with them. Do you have the feed outside when they are out?

Is the feed wet? I ask because you said mash... is it crumble?
If it is wet... is it moldy?
If it is not wet... try wetting it (mine loved the special mush) in small amounts... it can get moldy fast

Maybe sprinkle it on the floor of the coop/run so they can hunt for it or put some mealworms in it.
They can have treats: Peas, yogurt, melon, cooked egg, pumpkin, oatmeal...
Try mixing goodies in it.
Get some regular chicken feed, and mix just a little bit with the mash. The cracked corn and other seeds should get them interested and they will start pecking at it and eating it. If your going to do the "wet mash" do it in small portions (only the amount they willl eat), because the stuff they dont eat will start smelling and getting moldy fast. Switching to a crumble or pelleted feed could also help, you could also mix that in with the mash. Throwing a bit of the food on the floor will cath their attention, and they will start pecking at it. If all else fails, there are other foods that you can feed them such as the ones BackardFarmMom listed up there ^.
They don't venture far when outside, not further than 5 metres away from their 'home' where their food and water is (it's only a short step up, they can easily fly/jump up there). They are all active and growing, though some are bigger than others (they are all 1 week old btw, there are seven of them
). I have seen that their crops are full basically from noon onwards, I'm just a bit worried about them not getting the right nutrients or eating too much grass ..

Though I have tried sprinkling the mash on the floor/grass and among the pine shavings and not had much success, those other tips look like they might work and I'll give them a try.

The meal worms are very popular, they all go crazy when I put some in there! Thanks for your help, I'm sure at least one of these ideas will get them eating the mash soon

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