Getting young birds interested in treats

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by GBryant890, May 17, 2016.

  1. GBryant890

    GBryant890 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 1, 2016
    I have six birds about four weeks old, two Araucanas, two Buff Orpingtons, and two New Hampshire Reds. In the last four days I've started trying to give each bird one or two mealworms a day. Three of the birds go batty for them, running over each other to get to the mealworm I'm holding, yet the other three are completely indifferent. I even tried holding a mealworm in front of one of the birds which pecked at it but didn't eat it. Are they an acquired taste? Will the three that don't go for the mealworms eventually like them? I'm unwilling to demonstrate how good they are.
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Hello and welcome to BYC!

    Generally all young birds and chicks are leery of new foods. It's a protective mechanism built into their brains so they don't eat anything poisonous and die. So if they eat what they know didn't kill them yesterday, they will survive today.

    However usually once one eats the treat, the others will eventually follow. And I do suspect these 2 birds that are not indulging will eventually join in. Pretty soon they will eat anything that drops from your hands and ask questions later! Ha!

    But all this being said, there could be a couple of things going on here....it is possible these three are shy and at the bottom of the pecking order. They are too nervous to join in. So I might suggest separating them at treats time and see if they won't eat them when they are alone? Sometimes this is all they need to relax and enjoy a good meal worm treat. Make sure when you do feed the flock meal worms you have a big enough space that these two feel comfortable in joining in. If they feel cramped in, they might be too nervous to eat with the flock. (same goes with feeders and waterers...make sure to have several feeding and watering stations so nobody is bullied and you have enough space for the amount of birds you keep)

    These three could also not feel well and food is not all that interesting. Usually the treats are the last thing they will turn up their beaks at, their chicken feed is the first thing ignored when sick, so keep an eye on them that they ARE eating and drinking properly, are just as active as the others. If so, I would say they need more time to adjust to new foods and their flock mates. All treats take time for young birds to get used to. Keep feeding them new things and eventually they will eat pretty much everything.

    Good luck with your new babies and welcome to our flock! :)
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  3. GBryant890

    GBryant890 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the response. It looks like the three birds are doing fine, eating and drinking with reckless abandon. So I can rule out sickness or injury. I think they're just not interested yet. This is fine because my mealworm farm is just starting out and I got a little impatient. It would be best if I let the farm stocks rise a bit before I started trying the treats again.

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    I am sure it's just a "new food" thing. It can take young birds a while to feel safe around food. As they age, they eat pretty much anything, edible or not! LOL

    Enjoy your babies! :)
     

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