How do I keep my big hens out of the baby chick's feeder?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MaineMooseChick, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. MaineMooseChick

    MaineMooseChick In the Brooder

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    For some reason, my big hens want to eat the chick food instead of their layer pellets. I had a mother hen hatch out 9 chicks and they're 5 weeks old now. They are all integrated with the flock and Mama hen has now pretty much said good bye to them, since she's back on the roost with the other big hens. I don't have the space to separate the little ones from the big ones, and so I've put their feeder on the floor of the coop and the big hens feeder is hanging from the ceiling. Does anyone have any tried and true method to keep them from eating the chick food?
     
  2. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    Here's what we used to give younger birds a sanctuary from the older birds. You need to make the spacing between the bars according to the size of your birds. A chicken can fit through an awfully small hole.
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    There really isn't any *harm* in them eating chick feed, many people feed their flocks grower/flock raiser as the staple diet. As long as you have sufficient supplemental calcium available (oyster shell) there is no concern about the lower calcium level in the chick feed and the increased protein level is actually likely to be a benefit, not a downside, for your older birds.
    If, though, you are truly concerned about it you can simply use a "creep" feeder for your chicks - it makes an entrance to the feeding area that is small enough for chicks to pass through but too small for adult birds - so the chicks go in, eat their fill and the big ones are kept away from the all-you-can-eat buffet. There are several versions of DIY projects for this - a quick search will yield you some ideas, or you may even have some ideas of your own now that you know about them.
     
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  4. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

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    Very nice. I have something like this but not nearly as nice. Just make your life easier and put out an all flock or non medicated chick feed and just let everyone eat the same thing.
     
  5. MaineMooseChick

    MaineMooseChick In the Brooder

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    Thanks everyone for the ideas and suggestions. I do have oyster shell for the hens, so I will not worry about them eating the chick food, then.
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

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    I use Flock Raiser crumbles with mine because everyone loves the chicks' feed the best. The crushed oystershell and egg shells fed back keep the hens' eggs hard.
     
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  7. Sweet Basil

    Sweet Basil Songster

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    I built a little chick shelter to keep the adults out of their feed. It is a piece of metal I had left over from building the coop. I fastened the metal onto a wooden frame that is several inches too short from side to side so that the metal will bow up. The arch is supported by two sections of an old rake handle that I screwed on to the frame. Then I used wire to tie the frame to some half cinder blocks to keep it from taking off like a kite during a storm. I ended up having to partially bury the blocks to get the sides closer to the ground because some ambitious hens squeezed under. I just pour the feed into a dish or an old frisbee once per day and slide it through the hole in the end.

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    The only drawback is keeping the last batch of chicks from occasionally squeezing in the ends to get to their old dining room!

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. losttexan

    losttexan Songster

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    If I have been giving the adults calcium through their feed up until now, does anyone have any suggestions for getting them used to/to accept the oyster shell? I sell my eggs, so I can't go through a long adjustment period until they get the hang of it.
     
  9. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Songster

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    Just offer it 'free choice' they should eat it as their bodies need it. I keep a seperate feeder just for oyster
     
  10. losttexan

    losttexan Songster

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    Yeah, but I've got some of those birds that act like every new thing/food is going to kill them until someone gets brave enough to peck at it. Serously, I have seen them take an hour to summon up the courage to peck at a big fat juicy catepillar I scored from a flowerbed, and I thought the first time I threw them a grasshopper, they were going to poop themselves when it jumped at them. I'm just worried that they will bypass the new thing that "just has rocks in it" and laying will suffer as a result.
     

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