Help with winter feeding

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by Acook1679, Jan 16, 2019.

  1. Acook1679

    Acook1679 In the Brooder

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    I am very worried that I am doing more harm than good for feeding my chickens. I have regular chicken feed (Purina layena) but I also have several bags of treats (flock party mixes). Anyways I have mixed a bag of dried mealworms, bugs and seeds into the feed is this damaging? They eat it right up. Yes the rarely eat the crumbles and they clean up the mix .They typically free range but with the snow they go out and scream at me at the front door for more and more food. How do I break this behavior? Should I not mix the flock party in the feed?
     
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  2. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

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    Definitely do not mix treats into their main feed. Treats should only be offered occasionally. I will toss two handfuls of treats spread very wide and thin into my chickens pen so they have to work at finding it. I only give treats one to two times a week.
     
  3. Acook1679

    Acook1679 In the Brooder

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    Thank you. I added a whole bag of their feed to dilute what I have already done. Lesson learned. Now how can I teach them not to hang out expecting food on my porch? They have plenty of food in the coop. Why won't they go in to eat? If they were truly hungry wouldn't they?
     
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  4. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

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    Ignore them!

    Yes, when they get hungry, they WILL go in and eat the food.

    Alternatively, you could take their daily ration and wet it and let it sit overnight then feed this in the morning. Most chickens love wet mash. This will make it a little harder to pick out the goodies.

    I ferment my feed so I will also lightly warm their food in the morning when it is in the single digits.
     
  5. Acook1679

    Acook1679 In the Brooder

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    Wow! I thought their food couldn't get wet due to mold. Make a mash and feed in the morning? Ok I will try that. And that's what I have been doing today I just feel so bad ignoring my ladies but the porch hanging and instant "attack" the moment you step out, pull in the driveway etc. has to stop .
     
  6. FlappyFeathers

    FlappyFeathers Free Ranging

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    Definitely agree... do not mix feed with treats, seeds, scratch or anything else. Layer feed is specially formulated to offer all the nutrients chickens need to stay healthy. Treats should only be offered sparingly. That can be really difficult to do! It's so much fun to watch them be happy and gobble everything up.

    As a general rule, treats (including fruits & veggie scraps) should only be 10% of their total feed ration. An average chicken eats about ΒΌ lb. per day. If you have 6 birds, and they eat 1.5 lbs per day, total treats shouldn't exceed 2.5 ounces. That's just a guideline, and the mealworms and seeds you've added aren't unhealthy, so they'll be fine. What you really want to avoid is fattening dinner leftovers. My chickens used to have access to my compost pile that frequently had bread, pasta and all manner of scraps. After a year, one bird suddenly became despondent and died. I suspected egg peritonitis so I did a partial necropsy myself, but what I found was an inch thick layer of visceral fat. I think she died from being obese and resulting heart failure, and she was the one who always ate the carbs first, while other ate the fruit/veggies first. So now I'm very diligent about what they get for treats.

    My chickens also like to hang out on my back door. They squawk and follow me around looking for treats all the time! But when they're hungry they go back and eat their regular food. As long as you ignore them, they'll eventually learn you're not an automatic treat dispenser. Save your party mixes for training your chickens when you actually want them to come to you or other fun things. In the winter months, you can always throw out a handful of scratch in the evenings right before they roost. Some people do this the help their chickens burn more calories and stay warm while they sleep.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
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  7. Acook1679

    Acook1679 In the Brooder

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    Thank you. I feel absolutely awful for loading them up on treats. I also feed them a banana or piece of fruit every day to the 6 of them.
     
  8. Acook1679

    Acook1679 In the Brooder

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    So another part to this. They have thrown so much of their feed on the floor looking for the good stuff. Should I not feed them anything in their feeder and let them clean it up?
     
  9. rosemarysugar

    rosemarysugar Songster

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    I have had this problem to.
    When they throw it on the ground ( to the point where the bowl is empty) just keep adding more food they will eventually realize that there is nothing more to look for. Yes I know that is wasting food but this is the only thing that would work for me ( if your not ok with wasting food you can put like a storage bin lid or something like that to catch the lost food).
     
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  10. FlappyFeathers

    FlappyFeathers Free Ranging

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    Ha! that's another discussion entirely! Chickens are notorious feed scatterers and wasters. Even with no special goodies added, they'll still claw it out of the feeder or flip it all over with their beak. If the floor is clear of litter, there's a chance they'll clean up spilled food pellets, a little less chance if it's crumbles, and probably no chance if the floor is covered in shavings or other bedding. Leaving it on the ground will likely bring in rats or other pests, or mold before the chickens actually find it.

    There's much talk all around the site about ways to keep chickens from spilling and wasting food. My solution is a DIY gravity PVC feeder. The important part of mine is an extra 3" tube added to extend their reach inside. But my girls still make a game out of trying to shovel out some pellets while others eat off the ground.
    109.jpg

    This is one of the best types I've seen and I may have to make one for myself...
    best-feeder.jpg

    You can find other ideas here:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/category/feeders-waterers.26/

    You are correct. But feeding mash is fresh and any leftovers should be discarded.

    Don't feel bad. The treats you have given are fine and won't hurt them. I just gave an example of what "could" happen over a period of time when feeding unhealthy snacks. I didn't mean to scare you... though I pretty much horrified myself when I found out. Mixing "extras" in the feed is just not a habit you want to continue doing.
     

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