help! Chickens eating lots of shavings, newspaper, straw, insulation!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by princess araucana, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. princess araucana

    princess araucana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 18, 2008
    Rhode Island
    I have 5 seven month old araucana(or EE) and they eat massive amounts of pine shavings and lots of other non-food material. They have free choice layer crumble as well as an oatmeal/ crumble mash I make for one with crossed beak. They eat so much pine shavings that some of their poo has "saw dust" in it! They also got at some pink foam insulation and were picking and swallowing it.
    I had removed shavings and tried newspaper, but they eat that too, also it is not as warm as shavings for winter.
    I removed the straw from nest boxes and just using shavings.
    I have (think it's a) rooster with pendulous crop from eating long grass so I am most worried about straw. At least the pine shavings pass!
    I had given them grit, but chicken with pendulous crop filled up too much on it so I removed. Main diet is layer crumble but Should be stones in run if they need.


    Has anyone experience with this? What will happen to the insulation they ate? How can I make them stop? Any other bedding options? They do have an outdoor run with dirt which I can not control. Crop impaction is big concern. Bird with large crop has been like that for over 4 months, skinny but otherwise healthy and poops.

    First time poster, hope i did it right, this is such a great site!!

    Thank you for your help!
     
  2. MrsSmitho

    MrsSmitho Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 8, 2008
    E. Tx.
    Morning!

    Don't know myself, but have the same problem!!

    We have a "section" in the run I plant greens for them and I use the empty feed bags to make sure they don't dig under until it grows...
    and they eat and rip up the bags...I am going to remove them all today because I have seen the pics of crop surgury....EEWWWW!!!

    Probably woln't happen on this farm, unless I can get my freaky, nurse sister over to do it:D, she loves that stuff.

    Anyway...anybody who can assure us would be great!!

    Oh, Princess, maybe try leaves???? They are a plenty right now and warm...and they eat them also, but from what I have read, it is ok...

    We use straw and I put leaves in the run for "play" time. I have seen them eat the leaves, but they are short and I would assume they can pass them easily.

    Good luck!!
     
  3. SSO202

    SSO202 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 16, 2008
    Hartwood, VA 22406
    [​IMG]

    I am not sure of the answer for you, but certainly you came to the right place to find it. You may want to try and use the search feature in the blue bar and try checking the emergencies, injuries and diseases forum. Good Luck!
     
  4. princess araucana

    princess araucana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 18, 2008
    Rhode Island
    Hi Mrs Smitho, thinking this problem might be more health related I reposted in the emergency index, I'm new to posting so I hope I'm not being redundant but maybe someone there will have more info?

    They love leaves! and we sure have plenty, I might put them in their run.
    thanks!
     
  5. Anny

    Anny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Detroit Michigan
    Quote:I second this sounds like it might be health related, like they are trying to get some type or protein or vitamin from stuff but what...I don't know.
     
  6. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    In general, I wonder if something is missing in their diet. What brand of food are you feeding?

    If the insulation was styrofoam insulation, eating that would be normal, for a chicken. They are known for pecking that stuff apart and eating it, if it isn't covered. As long as the pieces they swallowed weren't too large, they should be ok. It's not that we usually like them to eat things like that, but lots of chickens have and lived just fine. I would plan on covering it with something like plywood or even old plastic election signs. That's assuming there's any insulation left.

    Foraging is a pretty strong drive in chickens. It's also possible that this is just displaced foraging behavior. If they're confined to a bare dirt run, you might think about giving them other things to do and eat. Hang a cabbage up for them to peck at and eat. Put some greens in something like a suet feeder, to peck at. Lots of fruits and vegetables can be hung on a parrot feeding skewer or just an old wire coat hanger. Bury some seed in a tray or area of gravel for them to scratch up and hunt for. In gardening weather you can plant flats of grass or pots of greens to rotate into the run. Give them a dust bath to scratch around in, even when they aren't dust bathing. Give them some things to climb on. Those sorts of things.

    Right now, their only scratching and foraging choices, other than eating their regular feed, are the supposedly inedible things. If they start eating real foods, the non-food items will hopefully start to look less attractive to them.

    MrsSmitho, maybe for your problem, you could use some protective frames, instead. For grass, something like a 2x4 frame with hardware cloth on top works. For larger greens, something a little taller would be good, but you get the idea. Or you could rotate planted pots or flats into the run, when they're ready to eat. Chickens. Sometimes, they just eat anything, don't they? I think I'll go give mine an extra snack, for not eating the plywood right off the walls. [​IMG]
     
  7. princess araucana

    princess araucana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 18, 2008
    Rhode Island
    woodland woman, thank you! Great ideas.
    insulation is now totally covered, they do have logs and roosts in their run but I like the idea of hiding treats for them!
    also the frame for grass sounds perfect for preventing long pieces stuck in crop.
    I feed them Blue Seal Layer crumble. I think I might go get some corn scratch and oyster shell too. we had our FIRST EGG!!!!!! yesterday![​IMG]
     
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    Wisconsin
    Congratulations on the first egg! That is excellent news!

    Blue Seal should be ok. I've never used it, but I've heard of it.

    I guess I'd try some foraging activities for them. They'll probably have fun and you might, too. They are entertaining, when they're working on something. Especially if it's something they're supposed to be working on! [​IMG]
     

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