Do you teach your chicken what to eat?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by payanek, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. payanek

    payanek Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2009
    Honolulu, HI
    My chickens have just stared at almost everything I have tried to feed them. The only things they have eaten were raw oatmeal (didn't touch cooked oatmeal). They also love to eat the wild clover that grows in their run.
    I have tried feeding broccoli, arugula, scrambled eggs, yogurt, and grapes but they dont eat it.
    I'm thinking they don't know it is food so they do not eat it.
    What do you guys do to get them to eat new foods?
     
  2. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    Watching their parents or other flock members is how birds learn. It's how they learn what is safe and good to eat. With chicks, you can tap at or stir the food with your finger, simulating beak movements.

    With food you don't mind eating, the easiest way is to just eat some in front of them, while they watch you. It's very common to eat new foods in front of parrots, to show them it's safe and good to eat. Chickens are very curious and always want whatever another chicken is eating. I'd just sit down and let them watch you eating some of this yummy food, until they can't stand it and really want some! Then offer a little of it.

    Eventually, they'll associate you with bringing food that's safe and good to eat. Then they'll try most foods you offer. I also use a particular bowl for their supplemental food, so they associate that bowl with food that's safe and good to eat. Sometimes, I also top something new, with an old favorite.

    They usually get better at trying new foods as they get older. Also, once they start trying more new foods, they get better at trying new foods. It's just getting them past the first couple of foods, that's tough.
     
  3. sharonross0624

    sharonross0624 New Egg

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    Apr 1, 2009
    I have the same exact problem, I bought my hens at 12-18 mos and brought them home and all they will eat is bread.
     
  4. greenmulberry

    greenmulberry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you want them to eat more variety, put the new food on top of the old food, and give them some time.
     
  5. mistylady

    mistylady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ohio near Coshocton
    mix the new food with the old and toss it out there for them. My hens decided that grapes were evil. I left the grapes on the run and in about two hours they were all gone and the hens were begging for more.
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I agree with the others. Leave the food in with them and once they get over their fear, they'll try it. Chickens are just very suspicious of anything new.
     
  7. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Last year - the chicks thought earthworms were gross. They were about 4 months old when the ground started freezing. Now, they are about 9 months old, and they think earthworms are great.

    I'm just hoping they have also learned to like slugs.

    I sure didn't demo these foods to them.
     
  8. payanek

    payanek Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2009
    Honolulu, HI
    thanks for the advice!
    I guess its just like for little kids, at first they don't like something but as they grow older they like it. [​IMG]
     
  9. KattyKillFish

    KattyKillFish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2009
    Dillingham, Alaska
    you guys make me thing i've got my chickens trained! i go out there with food - nothing, they ignore me.

    i go out there with food and call "chikuchickychikcy!! they come running from all directions to see what i have for them.

    i do agree with the others though, perhaps nudge the food or tap it with a stick. this will get them interested.
     
  10. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Oh mine are trained alright. They listen for the back door to open. They can be anywhere on this farm and if the back door opens they're there in an instant. If I go out the door and then back in without giving them anything, they knock. [​IMG]
     

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