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Help with feed wasting

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Original Recipe, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. Original Recipe

    Original Recipe In the Brooder

    Sep 3, 2013
    When my chicks out grew their mason jar chick feeder at about 12 weeks, I replaced it with this 7 pound hanging feeder.


    At the time they were going through a quart and a half a day, but were knocking the feeder over constantly. I figured that the new feeder would last several days and they wouldn't be able to knock it over. Imagine my surprise when I filled it the first morning and returned that evening to find it completely empty! I had sat it on the floor of their run and they simply scratched it all out and it was all packed under the hardware cloth bottom which is about 1 1/2" - 3" off the ground (the coop sits on a slight slope leveled up with pavers). It was wet from the ground (it was raining) and covered in poo so not really salvageable.

    I decided that hanging it would prevent them from scratching it out so I put a hook on the bottom of the coop. The coop is elevated about 20" above the enclosed run. This put the bottom of the feeder about 6" off the ground and ensures that no one can perch on top of it. This slowed down the waste for a while, but now at 17 weeks, they are back to emptying it in 6 hours with 70% or more of it being waste.

    I can't afford to keep throwing away several pounds of feed every week and I have to move the entire coop to clean it all out which isn't feasible to do every day. Between poo, ground moister and now mice tunneling under, I don't really want to give the waste feed back to the girls anyway.
    What can I do to remedy this without having to buy or build a different feeder? I've thought about a pan under the feeder to catch the waste, but that will just encourage them to perch on the lip of the pan and I won't be able to keep them from pooing in it. Any suggestions?

  2. mettymet

    mettymet In the Brooder

    Jun 27, 2013
    i use a foil baking sheet and it works great with all my birds ...
  3. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Songster

    Jul 16, 2007
    Long Island NY
    You have hardware cloth in your chicken run? I'm confused about why you wouldn't have them on the dirt in their run. Also are you feeding them a mash feed? The pellet form is nice because even if they knock it out of the feeder they will eat it off the ground.
  4. Original Recipe

    Original Recipe In the Brooder

    Sep 3, 2013
    Well my coop and run is a tractor and the entire bottom is hardware cloth to keep predators from digging under and keep rodents from getting in. It is easy enough to move normally, but I have it set in a semi-permanent way for the winter with the wheels removed. It takes some effort to move it and get it reset on the leveling blocks again, which is why it's not feasible to clean underneath everyday. They do get free range time on dirt however. I am using crumble because they are still on starter/grower and I'm only finding layer feed in pellet form locally.
  5. pdirt

    pdirt Songster

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    Our solution to wasted feed was to switch to fermented feed. I do still feed some dry feed, but when I lock them up each night, I block access to their dry feed. In the morning, they're hungry. I feed 12 birds (9 LF and 3 silkies) about 6 cups of fermented feed. They gobble most of it up within a half hour and its gone by noon. As soon as they are focused and gobbling the FF, I unblock their dry feed, so they can eat some more if the ff wasn't enough. This has solved most of our feed waste issue. The FF, being wet, sticks together and isn't so easy for them to pick through. Plus they are just plain hungry and don't seem so picky!
  6. aggiemae

    aggiemae Songster

    Mar 18, 2012
    Salem Oregon
    I also ferment or wet their twice daily main meals and withhold food overnight. I do offer free feed all day long and I put a brick on top of the food in the feeder to weigh it down and help keep the feeder upright. I keep the feeder far from the water so it stays dry and find that the hens eventually do eat the food they spill.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
  7. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014

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