Chickys won't eat growers pellets... please help!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Shelly4chooks, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. Shelly4chooks

    Shelly4chooks Hatching

    Oct 5, 2012
    Hi all

    We got our 4 chickys about 3 weeks ago & they are now 13-15 weeks old approx (the gent we got them from wasn't sure how old they were but they were between 10 - 12 weeks he thought. From what I've read, they're too big for chick crumb, which they were still being fed when we got them, so I switched to Grower's pellets (mixing with the chick crumb for the first week or so) but they won't eat the pellets! They love mixed corn & dried mealworms and forage around the garden for long periods but they just turn up their beaks to the pellets. I'm worried they aren't getting the nutrients they need. There seem to be loads of advice on feeding young chicks and feeding layers, but not much in between! Also, should I be giving them grit now? Or are they too young? I think they are, so haven't bothered yet.

  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    The need for grit isn't based on age, but on diet. If all they are eating is a commercially prepared diet, they don't need grit. But if they are out foraging, eating bugs and greens, then they need grit in order to digest their food. Since they don't have teeth, the grit serves the same function as teeth do for us, grinding up the food for them. The good news is that if they are out foraging, it is quite possible they are also able to find small stones to swallow and use as grit.

    There are very few real feeding "rules". In general,

    Feed chick feed up to about 8 weeks
    Feed grower feed from then until laying age
    Feed layer feed to layers

    In reality, there is lots of flexibility there. You can feed chick or grower feed for all life stages, if that is your preference, although if you were going to feed chick feed, it would be best to feed the non-medicated to birds over 8 weeks. You can also feed grower feed past laying age, and that is what most people with mixed age flocks choose to do. Just offer a source of calcium like oyster shell on the side for the layers, and they will take what they need. The only thing you shouldn't do is feed layer feed to young birds. The extra calcium in the layer feed is not good for their developing organs.

    Now, I firmly believe that a chicken is not going to starve itself to death, so as long as you offer decent quality (i.e. not moldy) feed, they will eat it when they are hungry. If you feed a lot of treats like corn and mealworms, they may fill up on those and then not want to eat the food that is good for them. Think of it like a toddler offered the choice of cake and candy, or a plate of vegetables. If you cut down on the treats, they will eat more of their feed.

    The other possibility is they are unsure about the pellets versus the crumbles they are used to. You might try mixing them up a mash with the pellets until they get used to them. Just take a bowl of warmed water, add the pellets, and in minutes it will be a mash like consistency that they will probably really like. Once they realize it is food, you can give this up (although I like to offer mine a warm mash in the winter) and they should start eating the pellets on their own.
    2 people like this.
  3. appps

    appps Crowing

    Aug 29, 2012
    I have bantams and read they sometimes have trouble with pellets so just bought the same thing as the pellets but it comes in crumble form as well.

    If I were you and worried they weren't eating I'd go get some growers pellets in crumble form and try that.

    Can I add a dumb question to the shell grit question. Do you have it in a seperate dish or mix with their feed?
  4. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    x2 great advice here. Grower is the right feed for these ladies. They can stay on it until they start laying eggs (and forever if you want as long as you supply calcium). If you are worried about them not eating it wet the pellets and mush them up until they get used to it. Chickens tend to not like anything new.

  5. Shelly4chooks

    Shelly4chooks Hatching

    Oct 5, 2012
    Thank you so much... will give it a try!!!
  6. vkyzar

    vkyzar In the Brooder

    Jun 15, 2012
    My chickens ( standards and bantams) are not gaining weight. I can feel the breast bone on all of them. I feed a mixture of scratch, rice bran, game bird crumbles and chopped corn. I move my pens so they are able to scratch around in grass. The standards range free during the day and I feed them when they come back to roost. The bantams are 3 months old and the standards are 4 months old. None of the feed stores around here offer the grower feed I've read about. I could sure use some help, as the weather is turning cooler and I'm afraid they will not be able to keep warm even though they all snuggle up in their coop at night.
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    How much of each are you feeding (round about weight), what is the protein of the game bird feed?


  8. SouthernAlberta

    SouthernAlberta Songster

    Mar 30, 2012
    Canada - Garden Zone 3
    Try making porridge with them by adding hot water or milk. My girls love porridge at night time.
  9. vkyzar

    vkyzar In the Brooder

    Jun 15, 2012
    I make a 5 gal. bucketful of the rice bran, scratch, chops and game bird crumbles. Each pen gets 72 oz. of feed a day.

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