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Fussy hens, what else can I give them??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Tartannik, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. Tartannik

    Tartannik Songster

    Mar 21, 2009
    Wet Argyll, Scotland
    I know that the food in America is maybe different from the food i get here in Scotland but.........in the morning when the hens get let out they get Layers Pellets for their breakfast, they look at me, turn their beak up and go to the grit bin, water bowl etc and ignore said pellets. When I go to feed them in the afternoon they get mixed corn thrown at them, which of course they love and sometimes the pellets are still in the food bowl! [​IMG]

    So, what I would like to know is, what else can i feed them?? I know I can't just give them corn as it makes them fat and they don't lay as much....is that right??
    They get kitchen scraps, love cooked porridge, cooked potato skins with oatmeal and what not in, any left over greens and fruit etc.
    I have tried giving them layers mash but they dont' like it either but will eat it mashed in with the potato skins, but i don't eat potato everyday so they can't have that!! I also give them cooked pasta and rice etc thats leftover from dinner some nights.

    Should i keep feeding them the pellets and dont' give them any corn until they learn to eat pellets or should i forget about the pellets as i seem to be wasting my money and give them an alternative?? I am quite happy to mix up a feed for them but i do want them to get all the nutrients and vitamins that the layers pellets provide!!!

    Any ideas would be much appreciated [​IMG] and thank you in anticipation!! [​IMG]

  2. NonnasBabies

    NonnasBabies Muddy Acre Farms Premium Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    On the Farm!
    I would quit feeding them the corn till they ate there pellets!! They will eat it if they get hungry enough!!
  3. artsyrobin

    artsyrobin Artful Wings

    Mar 1, 2009
    Muskogee OK
    are the pellets new to them? mine won't touch pellets, so i give them crumbles- you might try dampening them, mine love them when i do that- i'd also hold off the goodies in the afternoon- its like candy to them
  4. roz

    roz Chirping

    Aug 2, 2010
    My girls got picky too, so I started mixing some unfiltered apple cider vinegar, molasses, and a little water to their pellets...just enough to coat them (oops, I mean crumbles although they look like pellets to me) and give them flavor, and they gobbled it up like it was candy for a good month or so before they got bored with that. I made an herbal mash that I found on the website for backyard poultry and gave them that recently too. It was really an herbal mash for sick chickens, to help build up their immune system, and I figured since it has been such a nasty winter here in New England this year I would try my best to make sure my chickens get their nutrients, so I'm willing to disguise their food in different but healthy ways to get them to eat it. I think I would get sick of the same thing everyday too.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011
  5. dweder

    dweder Songster

    Jun 12, 2010
    Glen Ellyn, Illinois
    I agree to all of the above.

    Mine would not touch pellets, and crumbles get more attention.

    Hold back on the scratch or cracked corn. Give that to them every other day (afternoon) and see if it encourages them to eat more of their proper food. Kitchen scraps are still great.

    I was having the same problem, so I added vitamins to their water (hoping to get them more nutrients), cut back on the scratch, moved their food feeder to a new place, and now Im filling it every day!

    Good luck!
  6. MSDeb

    MSDeb Songster

    If you want your birds to eat the pellets with-hold the table scraps for a couple of days or mix the pellets with the table scraps. My girls were resistant to the pellets too because they were eating pretty well from the table. I first mixed the pellets with table scraps then changed to feeding pellets in the morning and didn't give the table scraps until they were gone. Once they get used to eating the pellets it shouldn't be a problem.
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    You can easily "spoil" chickens. Not unlike dogs or human pre-teens, for that matter. Of course, tasty foods will be chosen over nutritious foods that seem boring. They'll hold out, for awhile, hoping to live entirely off goodies. Not realistic.

    To insure proper nutrition, the mainstay of any chicken's diet needs to be their feed, whether crumbles or pellets. Unless you've the time, knowledge and resources to blend foods in a nutritionally balanced diet. Most of us do not have the time or inclination, so we are very careful not spoil our chickens off their mainstay diet. No chicken is going to starve itself to death. Grudgingly, they cave and eat the pellets.

  8. Tartannik

    Tartannik Songster

    Mar 21, 2009
    Wet Argyll, Scotland
    Thank you everyone, the main thing i was worried about was them losing weight but like kids they will eat if they eventually realise they aren't getting anything 'better'!!
    I shall be strong and if they don't eat the pellets they get first thing in the morning they won't get anything untill they have eaten them!!
    I am gonna win this argument, lol!!
  9. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I wouldn't feed anything at all but pellets for several days, probably a week or two. Then gradually add in whatever you want. But always think of corn as chicken candy. We all need a little candy now and then -- but very little.
  10. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Songster

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I have a certain dish I have always used for treats. Anything I give them in this dish they eat it. Suckers. LOL

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