how long will it take for a chicken to die of starvation

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by silkieowner, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. silkieowner

    silkieowner Songster

    Apr 17, 2010
    HI just wondering how long would it take for a chicken to die from starvation? I have 2 silkies i just got almost a week ago and i haven't seen them eat any pellets, They free range range in the yard but won't touch the pellets or wheat. They also haven't drinken much water either. There to scared to come out from the coop into the run. They won't even go out into the run when the other chickens aren't in there.

    Even to get them out in the yard to free range i have to chase them out. If i keep them in the coop/run and chase them it doesn't work cause as soon as i walk away they go straight back into the coop. I'm not sure how old they are but i'm guessing there over 3 years old. I do not want to put food and water in the coop as it makes it stink in the coop bad. THere food and water is out in the run.
  2. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    I would put the food and water in the run until they get used to the surroundings. It doesn't have to be there permanently.
  3. silkieowner

    silkieowner Songster

    Apr 17, 2010
    the reason i don't want to put it into the coop is 1 it will stink out the coop more and 2 I've been through it before with Storm,Thunder and Cloud my other silkies i put food and water in the coop when i got them and they wouldn't come out of the coop either. I think to them why come out of the coop when they have food and water in there for them. Once i took the food and water out of the coop into the run they came out. My dad said either they come out to eat and drink or they die.
  4. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    I don't understand why food and water would stink. Clean, fresh food and water don't stink in the least.

  5. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    Quote:1. Your coop shouldn't stink at all if properly cleaned. I recommend you put food and water in your freshly cleaned coop and let them decide when to come out.

    2. They need a couple weeks to get the idea that the coop is their safe place, then they will venture out on their own. Are they perhaps afraid of the other silkies? Did you do a proper quarantine and intro?

    3. Sorry your dad says that, it's not a very humane approach. [​IMG]
  6. Oven Ready

    Oven Ready Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Don't worry - if you've had them for a week then they must be eating something. I've never actually tested it but my feeling is that without food (any at all) they would be dead in 4-6 days. Without water (or food with a reasonable water content) it would be only a day or two. They find water in the strangest places.

    If you want to check if they are eating stuff you don't see them eating then go into the coop just after dark, their crops should be reasonably full at that point and they are easy to handle in the dark.

    We free range from dawn til dusk and besides a handful of rice first thing in the morning (and I really mean a handful or three to be shared by 70 bantams) we don't feed ours with anything. They get all their food by themselves. They do have a large area to range in (4 acres) but at night everyone of them has a bulging crop when they go to roost.

    I think your Dad might be more worried than his comment suggests - but that's Dads for you.
  7. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    Quote:That's exactly the problem, birds WILL starve themselves if they are not comfortable with their surroundings or unfamiliar with the food you are offering. The avian vet I work for is constantly explaining to people why they should switch their birds to a more balanced, complete diet than seeds, but he also strongly enforces the idea that you have to make the change gradually or the birds will starve to death with a full bowl of food in front of them. Chickens may be better about trying unfamiliar foods, but they will still starve themselves if they are too scared to go find the food as yours are.

    You just got these chickens, and they are older chickens which means that they were probably very very comfortable in their previous home. Plopping them down into an unfamiliar environment is very scary and stressful for them, so it's instinct for them to hide in the coop until they feel safe enough to venture out into the run. Stop worrying about how much the coop will stink or that they won't go into the run and put the food and water in the coop for a few weeks. If the coop starts to smell, clean it more often. This is a temporary set up, it's not like you're going to have to do it forever. Once they feel safe in the coop and have some time to adjust to what they are seeing outside, they will become braver and venture out into the run. If you're particularly impatient, you can move the feed/water out into the run during the day after the first few days to encourage them to go out (but please move it back into the coop for part of the daylight hours so that they can eat). But you have to give them time.
  8. hen-at-home

    hen-at-home Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    North Central MA
    Hi Silkieowner,

    I just checked out your pictures of your coop and your Silkies. What a nice coop and you have such beautiful birds! The title on your thread caught my attention as I was wondering the same thing about chickens. I've been dealing with a 13 week old Australorp who is having difficulty with his/her (I think it may be a rooster) tongue and swallowing. (long story - I posted about it a while ago but didn't get much response, although I must admit I couldn't share too much info. and we've been taking it day by day) Anyway..... I wondered for a while if he was eating and how long he could survive etc. I've heard they can go a few days without eating but without water they won't last long.

    I am very curious about why your coop would smell with food and water in it? I keep my food and water in my coop and if it smells in there it means I need to shovel out some of the "poopy" shavings under their roost. It's not because of the food or water. My girls are very messy eaters too. I feed them the grain (is it called mash??), it's the dry mealy stuff, like very coarsely ground corn meal. They flip that stuff out of the feeder and onto the floor even though I have it hanging at the level of their backs. I ran out of mash meal once and I bought a bag of pellets because I thought it would be less messy. Well they didn't know what to do with the pellets. The woman at the grain store said to watch them because if they didn't eat the pellets I would have to get some mash meal and feed it along with the pellets for a while until they got used to the pellets. I assume she meant that they may starve themselves even though the pellets were right in front of them because they were only familiar with the mash meal type of feed. Maybe your girls were fed something different before you got them and they are not familiar with the pellets?? Just a thought.

    I think if they are free ranging in the yard they will be eating for sure. I often check my girls crops in the evening after they've gone to roost. It's becoming a habit ever since my he/she bird has been having difficulty. Are you familiar with how to do that? It's on their right side kinda in their breast area. It's funny, last night I checked them and some of them have very bulging, unmistakably full crops and the others I have to manipulate a bit to find a small lump under the feathers. It's my two BR's that have the fullest crops. Resourceful little piggies they are. [​IMG]

    I really would like to know how the food and water makes the coop smell so if you don't mind sharing any info. on that I'd be interested to know. I did find some packed grain that looked like it had gotten very slightly moldy in a corner of my coop the last time I shoveled the coop out and changed shavings. I was kinda surprised because it wasn't right under the feeder and it was covered by cleanish shavings so it wasn't visible. It was the first time I'd cleaned my coop so I put slightly less shavings down this time and plan to clean it out sooner to avoid that.

    I've rambled....... sorry! [​IMG] I would love to hear how things go with your girls! Please keep us posted!
  9. SilkieTime

    SilkieTime Songster

    Mar 29, 2009
    Joelton Tn.
    [​IMG] Good use your eyes not your nose and do it your self.
  10. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Songster

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    I just added a few secondhand silkies to my flock and they did the same thing. When I add other chickens, I can just drop them into the middle of the chaos and the other birds are like "Oh hi, welcome to the family!" But the silkies were terrified of the other birds' excitement and would not come out of the coop for even food or water. Mine were moved from a neighbor's coop to mine, which was almost identical in setup, and they ate the same food over there. I started out feeding and watering them in the coop, but they did take the attitude of "Why come out and look for our own food when there's shade and a nice set of bowls here?" Since I free-range mine and don't like to feed them their entire diet, that was not going to go well in my flock. So unfortunately I had to take the hard route with them and move the food and water out and basically starve them out of their cozy nest. Those silkies are so nervous and flighty and dumb that some ended up killing themselves by getting stuck in the fencing or in cracks between boards! I don't think I will get silkies again.

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