feed store was out of feed, now chickens can't remember what their feeders are for!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by hawaiianchickie, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. hawaiianchickie

    hawaiianchickie New Egg

    Jan 30, 2014
    Hi All,
    Our feed store ran out of feed for six days. I fed them brown rice and we scattered it like scratch for those six days. Now that we have feed again, they won't touch their feeders. Egg production is way down. We have 100 birds or so and are a small production farm. Thanks for the help!
  2. cackleberrycam

    cackleberrycam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2013
    Chickens love treats and you could consider rice a treat. The egg production may be down because chickens who eat large rations of treats get to a point where they cannot lay eggs.That is because the they cannot pass the egg because of fat layers of tissue made by large consumptions treats that block the way for the egg to pass through. They also might have gotten into the routine of eating rice and they may have become obsessed with it because it is a treat, therefore they will not want to eat layer feed. Did you give them oyster shell or another calcium supplement while they were on rice?? If not another reason why the egg production is down may be because they did not have enough calcium to lay the egg. I hope this helps! [​IMG]

    Welcome to BYC!!
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  3. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    You shouldn't be surprised your egg production is hurting. Rice is a very nutritionally poor feed. It low protein, low Ca, low, low minerals and vitamins. The only thing it really offers is lots of carbohydrates and calories. If there were off their feed for 6 days, I would expect they would need another 6 days to get back up to normal.

    Living where you are, I would have a backup plan in case this happens again. First off exhaust any other foul feed options. Non medicated starter, grower, all flock or meat bird with Ca on the side is the best alternative. Next what whole grains do you have available? You must have locally produced field corn with the cattle industry. Corn, soybeans, oats, wheat berries, barley, field peas, lentils or sunflower seeds are all better more nutritious options than rice. Cutting the layer with one or a mixture of these would buy you some time. Even cut it with the rice if you have to but don't give them the rice by itself. They will pick out the whole grains first but they will go back and eat the layer.
    If you don't have any of that available, I'd look at other livestock feeds, Rabbit looks like a viable alternative short term. Everything in it is good for chickens (alfalfa, soy, grains). Protein levels are ideal. Ca will be deficient. The one problem will be the slightly higher Na content (will be true with any livestock feed you substitute) but for a week, I'd rather have the added nutrients of a formulated feed. Goat feed would be my next choice. Lastly, if you have to, use a horse feed. I'd stay away from the pelleted feed just because of the size of the pellet (usually 3/8" where the rabbit is 3/16"). The cheap horse feeds are a blend of whole grains (corn, oats and barley), some type of vitamin/mineral pellet and a ton of molasses. Again, not the best alternative but you're talking a week.

    Chickens can and will eat a bunch of different foods if they have to. What do you have available to you? You can add fish (protein and Ca from the bones), fresh fruits and vegetables (added vitamins) alfalfa (protein, carotenes and Ca) dried catfood (protein) stale bread... just add something more to the rice.
  4. hawaiianchickie

    hawaiianchickie New Egg

    Jan 30, 2014
    Thanks for the help. We are somewhat limited in what we can feed our birds. We are certified organic. The egg production is going up slightly. I found an alternate source of feed that will ship direct, so no more feed stores. I appreciate the feedback.

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