Feed Suggestions

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bethmikulic, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. bethmikulic

    bethmikulic Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 20, 2015
    Jacksonville, FL
    Hello! I have 3 white leghorn hens that I have had for about 1.5 years. They prefer to roost up on the rafters of my barn vs a coop. They are free range chickens. I am just wondering if anyone has tips/suggestions on how to get them to eat any of the feed I provide for them? The only thing I can get them to eat are sunflower seeds and mealworms; the rest of their diet is whatever they eat outside. I have not had any other chickens but I feel like they look much thinner than most other chickens I see. I have tried many good brands of pellets/grain and made a fresh chop my vet suggested but nothing. Any input would be greatly appreciated! Does anyone else have this problem? They seem fine but just seem lean compared to others I've seen! Thanks!!
  2. CascadiaRiver

    CascadiaRiver Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2014
    Pacific Northwest
    Leghorns are pretty skinny breeds, though if they look sickly thin (you could post a picture if possible?) chickens can get worms that can cause a drop in weight, do you think parasites could be an issue? You could try moistening the food and turn it into mash and see if they like it, but in all honesty if they don't seem interested in the food it could be just that they get enough to eat by free ranging :)
  3. bethmikulic

    bethmikulic Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 20, 2015
    Jacksonville, FL
    Thank you for your response! They are acting normal and don't look sickly. One of my hens just had a visit to the vet and she had no parasites. I think you're correct in that it's just their breed. I've tried a mash and they are not interested :/
    Thanks for the reassurance ;)
  4. Hi, try this....

    Feed and water in the morning and do not let out to free range till around noon...They will eat the feed......

    Best of luck...

  5. SueT

    SueT Chicken Obsessed

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    Mine free-ranged for about a year and ate almost ZERO feed in that time. They laid lots of eggs, so I assume they were finding just what they needed. But because of predators, I now have them confined, and they have had to get used to eating feed again. I'd say don't worry. About feed anyway.
  6. bethmikulic

    bethmikulic Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 20, 2015
    Jacksonville, FL
    I am unable to confine them bc they fly up in my barn rafters. They stopped using a coop a year ago. They are white leghorns and fly well. I gave up trying to confine them. Thank you for the suggestion though!
  7. Just another thought?

    You could retrain them to the coop by confining them for 7 to 10 days and then they will eat the feed and go to the Coop to roost at night....Not sure if that is an option for you?

  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    I'd not worry a bit about them not eating their feed. But, why would they want to? They are getting plenty of wonderful feed by free ranging all day. And IMO, it's better quality and a better nutritional balance than anything that will come out of a bag. Then, you are also giving them chick candy with the meal worms and sunflower feeds. As other posters have said, leghorns are Mediterranean birds. That group of birds are not as beefy looking as the European and American breeds. If you're concerned about their nutrition, you could with hold the meal worms and sun flower seeds, and simply put out their layer feed. Are you getting any eggs? You might try not feeding them at all, and then give them a bit of layer when they come in to roost in the late afternoon. You might even try fermenting it. How old is the feed you have? That might be an other issue. It starts to go rancid 42 days after mill date.
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Yep, they should be thinner than most other chickens. Dual purpose hens are going to be a good 2+ lbs heavier than a Leghorn. Leghorns are bred to be small, with wonderful feed conversion.

    If they're active, healthy, good feather quality and productive as appropriate for age and time of year, I'd say you're good. Continue to offer them feed, and oyster shell if laying, and let them do their thing.

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