Crumble to Pellet changeover lowering egg production?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chesapeakechickens, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. chesapeakechickens

    chesapeakechickens In the Brooder

    Oct 26, 2011
    Suburban Maryland
    So, a little over a week ago we started giving pellets to the girls. All the sudden we seem to have had a drop in egg production to the tune of at least 10 eggs in a week for our 10 chickens. That seemed like a big jump considering we are having more daylight now than a few weeks ago. Yesterday, we only got 4 eggs which sent hubby right to the store for crumble this morning. [​IMG] When my son brought out fresh pellets this morning they almost ignored them - just a little look-see and a few pecks here and there. Hubby just got home from the store, pushed the pellets back out of the way in their built in hopper feeder to put a bit of crumble on top. Apparently, all 10 chickens were on it like there was no tomorrow and going crazy.[​IMG] Awwwww, poor babies! They've been starvin' to death! [​IMG]Has anyone else had a problem with moving to pellets? Folks at the store said that more people get the pellets because they seem to waste less so we figured what the heck. Doesn't seem like that worked out so well. Our crumble has always been Layena, but these pellets were a different brand because the store was out of the Purina ones when we got them...could it have been brand related? Give us your thoughts...[​IMG]
  2. PtldChick

    PtldChick Songster

    Jun 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I'd try the same brand of pellets as the crumble, and just give that as the food. They'll eat it eventually. My first thought was they just don't like change which slowed up their systems.

    I give mine mostly pellets (same reason you quoted) and rotate brands and formulas (Nutrena, Payback and Purina, developer, layer and all purpose poultry - I have a few ducks). The Nutrena grower/developer they were raised on only comes in crumbles. But it doesn't seem to be a big issue, they eat whatever I put out. Including the meal at the bottom of the feeder if I'm late refilling the food. Maybe using different kinds of food has kept them from developing a taste for only one brand/type.
  3. acs5071

    acs5071 In the Brooder

    Dec 27, 2011
    So I'm the hubby and I can't believe that she tried to starve my ladies like that.[​IMG] Just kidding. Who knew? Maybe they "waste" less pellets because they don't actually eat them!!!

    I guess we'll try mixing this bag of crumble with the pellets and see where that goes. They sure seem awful hungry right now though, and I figured after a week and a half of pellets they would be eating it whether they liked it or not. Maybe the brand and texture change together was enough to scare them off.

    I have not seen all 10 of them lined up and eating since they were baby chicks. No fighting or clucking just total focus on stuffing their faces for several minutes straight. They don't do anything for several minutes straight, after all they're chickens. I guess somebody needs to pay a little more attention.[​IMG]

  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Don't mix in the feeder, as I find the birds beak through to find what they want and spill out what they dislike. Your experience may vary.

    Anytime there is a change, chickens react. They are just that way. Sometimes a different feed produces differing results not because of the shape, but because of the content. Good feed makes for more eggs, that is for certain. After the adjustment period, you may be better able to judge if the new feed in inferior, in your experience.

    While animal protein is sometimes harder to find in layer formulas, we've found it makes a GREAT difference, The birds just aren't vegetarian.
  5. I have used Layena Crumbles and pellets. I got pellets once on accident. I didn't notice the drop in egg production at first because I was too panicked noticing they weren't eating nearly as much. It took them 3 days to eat what they would normally eat in one day. They did finish off the bag once they got used to it, but I made sure to get the crumbles next time.

    As for the starving chickens... My Papa used to tell me, "If they are hungry enough, they will eat." He was talking about my dogs at the time, but if he were still living, I'm sure he'd say the same thing about my chickens. [​IMG]
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Your Papa is a very wise man. Yes, it goes for chickens as well. Don't see a lot of dead, self starved chickens laying around. [​IMG]
  7. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma
    I feed Layer Pellets because there is FAR LESS waste here. I have used crumbles before and they would flick a bunch on the floor and they would not pick of the spilled feed. I changed to pellets and now the little bit of feed they spill on the ground they pick up. Pellets are also 0.15 a bag cheaper at the mill for some reason. but $0.15 adds up when I am feeding 70-100+ chickens. When I changed to pellets they didn't eat to much at first but they didn't starve. They would peck at if and eat a little at first but after about 2 days they just started eating it. They will not starve. Fred does have a good point that you never see starving chickens laying around with feed in front of them.

  8. florida lee

    florida lee Songster

    Apr 6, 2011
    I change back and forth all the time ( between pellets and crumbles ), what ever I can get on sale. Never had a problem. Never affected egg production.
  9. ChicKat

    ChicKat Crowing Premium Member

    Yes, I agree that over a week would be enough time to 'adjust' to the new food -- using the hunger theory. Perhaps the content rather than the form was what the chickens didn't like.

    When I tried to switch mine to pellets (they were layena) they wouldn't eat them.... gave me the look: 'what in the heck is this stuff?' Now I cannot remember if I mixed the pellets into crumbles to try to use them up---I think that is what happened.

    One thing that makes what ever is in the feed more appealing to mine is a little (couple tablespoons) water. Suddenly what they weren't interested in becomes scrumptious. Maybe you could use up the pellets with a little water.

    Glad you found their turning up their little beaks before any became ill.

    LOL - I like your 4-hens count.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
  10. bigspringshatchery

    bigspringshatchery Songster

    Jun 26, 2010
    Roanoke Alabama
    I tried pellets for the first time last summer and my egg production drop bad, almost stopped for about a month. Switched back to crumbles and picked back up. Now my girls are on pellets and they are fine. It does take time for them to get use to eating the pellets but they wont starve. They will eat them, i do get a lot less waste.

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