We are INCREDIBLY frustrated. For the past couple of months we've been buying a specialized seed mix from another chicken farmer and adding fish meal to boost the protein content. Our whole purpose in raising chickens is to have healthier eggs than we could buy at the grocery store, so we wanted to avoid conventional feeds that contain mostly corn and soy. Problem is, our birds HATE the healthier feed. At first we thought they just disliked the powdery texture of the fish meal, so we bought wheat germ oil and mixed it in to help the fish meal adhere to the rest of the seed. Then we started noticing that the hens would pick and choose which seeds they liked and would leave the rest, and once the tray was full of only the seeds they disliked, they would stop eating all together. Now it's apparent that they are eating only enough to survive. They are exhibiting signs of lack of proper nutrition: mainly brutalizing each other (they killed our bantam last night) and not laying very often (they are 8 months old and have been laying for about two months now). In fact, I've been able to determine that their laying is directly related to how much they eat because when I take them a large amount of scraps one day, the very next day we have twice as many eggs. So my question is this: is there anything I can do to encourage them to eat the seed or is it a lost cause? I REALLY don't want to switch back to the soy and corn feed but we want to stop the brutality and we want eggs. We could try to find a high-protein treat that the birds will like (maybe sunflower seeds?) but we're already spending at least $60 a month on feed (for 15 birds) and it seems ridiculous to add even more cost to that. (The conventional feed will only cost us half as much.) Other details: we can't free range them because we have dogs, although we do let them out supervised once or twice a week. They have plenty of space in the coop and the run, and I give them scraps at least every other day. We know they liked the conventional feed because they would go through it twice as fast and weren't picking on each other at that point.