Chicks wasting more than they eat!

natemoore1986

Songster
Aug 3, 2012
152
55
159
I've got 7 light Sussex chickens, about 5 weeks old. I've tried two different types of feeders, but still most of the chick starter winds up on the floor as bedding. It seems that they only want to eat the larger crumbles. The feed that is more like corn meal doesn't get eaten.

I wonder if I could switch them over to layer pellets? I've never seen medicated chick starter pellets at Tractor Supply, only crumbles.

Of course, the 50lb bag of medicated crumbles was only around $11, so it's not a big deal if most is wasted. It's just really messy.
 

natemoore1986

Songster
Aug 3, 2012
152
55
159
Have you considered placing the feeder onto something like a cookie sheet? Would contain the mess somewhat and allow the less dominant birds to eat the 'leavings' of the more dominant ones as well.
That wouldn't work, I don't think. They've scattered the feed completely in a 2' x 6' brooder cage a half-inch deep.

Although they're only about 5 weeks old, they're completely feathered out. If I can work up the nerve to kill old Buck, move young Mattie into his run, and kill (and eat) Buck's mutt-of-a-son offspring that now lives with Mattie, I could move them into that run. It's predator proof and it'll be warm enough here in NW Florida for another month or two. Didn't really get that cold last winter.
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
2,031
3,171
291
Lincolnton, NC
That’s just what they do. WHEN THEY ARE 18 - 20 WEEKS, switch them to layer pellets and they won’t be as messy. But as chicks, there’s really not much you can do about it. I agree with the poster who suggested the cookie sheet; I put a square piece of wood underneath my chicks feeder so when the fling it out, it lands mostly on the wood. I don’t refill the feeder until they eat all the food off the wood.

*edited for people who can’t comprehend wording and thought I was telling her to switch 5 week old chicks to layer feed. Maybe the simpler language will make it easier*
 
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Hei 20

Crowing
Oct 8, 2020
1,870
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323
I've got 7 light Sussex chickens, about 5 weeks old. I've tried two different types of feeders, but still most of the chick starter winds up on the floor as bedding. It seems that they only want to eat the larger crumbles. The feed that is more like corn meal doesn't get eaten.

I wonder if I could switch them over to layer pellets? I've never seen medicated chick starter pellets at Tractor Supply, only crumbles.

Of course, the 50lb bag of medicated crumbles was only around $11, so it's not a big deal if most is wasted. It's just really messy.
It has nothing to do with the type of feed, they like to scratch, LOL. So making a mess is in their nature. I usually put a big plastic and center the food in the middle of it. Afterwards I pick up the plastic and dump the food back into the feeder. Of course, making sure NO poop is in. LOL
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
2,031
3,171
291
Lincolnton, NC
It has nothing to do with the type of feed, they like to scratch, LOL. So making a mess is in their nature. I usually put a big plastic and center the food in the middle of it. Afterwards I pick up the plastic and dump the food back into the feeder. Of course, making sure NO poop is in. LOL
I just meant that the pellets are bigger and account for less waste and will make your life easier WHEN THEY ARE OLDER.

*again, edited for people who don’t read very well*
 
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rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
13,300
24,994
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
Feed waste is kinda par for the course when you have chicks. I let them make the mess, at least it's only a problem while they're little.

Layer feed isn't appropriate for chicks. If you can find all flock or grower in mini pellet form, that might be an option, though I bet they'll still kick it around somewhat.
 

Floof

Songster
Sep 28, 2015
376
376
181
I took a half gallon milk jug and cut a hole on two sides with a hole in the top for pouring food into and attached it to the corner of their brooder. This completely stopped the problem. It costs absolutely nothing to try it!

Edit to further explain: I put the holes about 4 or 5 inches up and only big enough for them to poke their heads into (about the size of a golf ball). This way they can eat but not scratch. I then cut off a triangle at the top opposite the handle so that I could pour food in with a yogurt cup. My chicks live in a Guinea pig cage so I just zip tied the handle to the bars in the corner. Do not use string or twist ties (I learned that after they almost ate one). It worked so well I made a second one for their water. Now I don't have to pick litter out multiple times a day :)
 
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