hens wasting feed

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by danbaum, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. danbaum

    danbaum Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 14, 2009
    I know this sounds funny, but my nine hens scoop the feed from their feeder and spread it all over the floor of the coop. I'm going through a lot of feed as a result. I think this started when I began mixing a little scratch grains into the feed on someone's advice. The hens love scratch grains above all things and I believe they've gotten into the habit of rooting through the Layena looking for the grains. I've stopped doing that now, and just spread a little scratch grains on the floor of the run every day. (It's like crack for them; they go completely crazy over it -- so much so that I wonder if they're not eating Layena at all, just spreading it around the coop, and so are starving when I show up with their little bit of scratch grains.
    I don't like to scoop up the spilled feed and put it back in the feeder because they've pooped all over it. But I sure would like to get them to stop wasting it all. That stuff's expensive.
    One other oddness: I spread straw around the floor of my coop, and the hens methodically kick it out the door and spread it evenly all over the floor of the run.
    Odd little creatures, aren't they?
  2. ThePamperedPullet

    ThePamperedPullet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Try switching to layer pellet if you are using crumble now. You can also raise the feeder up to make them have to reach in to get at it.
  3. numamahen

    numamahen Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 13, 2009
    We put our feeder up on four - 4" plastic plant pots and inside an oil pan. There is about 2" extra around the feeder then so when the feed spills out, it is caught, we reuse it again and rarely is there poop in it. I agree - they can waste SO much!! Can't wait for them to get outside again!!!!!
  4. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    Cut out the scratch and don't refill the feeder until they eat all that they spilled on the ground.
  5. danbaum

    danbaum Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 14, 2009
    Thank you all! Terrific ideas!
  6. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    My hens also like to spread their feed around. I just wait until they have cleaned up after themselves before refilling the feeder! Their "natural" tendency is to scratch through the ground looking for food, so I think they prefer the food on the ground so they can scratch through it and pick it up that way. So - I let them spill it to their heart's content, they have a blast scratching around eating it and when it is gone, I refill the feeder.

    As others have said, scratch should be used sparingly as it is a treat - candy really. I only give mine a couple of handfuls or so of scratch once every week or two. The rest of the time they eat their feed or whatever they find free-ranging.

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