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How to switch from bagged food...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by hbarrios, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. hbarrios

    hbarrios New Egg

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    I've been trying to figure out a way to be more sustainable in my chicken farming and have read about ground cover but how to you train a chicken to eat REAL food? I'll put kale or spinach out in the coop and they won't touch it! Any ideas?
     
  2. Kilsharion

    Kilsharion Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not sure what others have to offer on the topic...and, I'm more rambling than offering suggestions. But, I'm claiming coffee deficiency as an excuse and rambling anyway...

    Mine won't touch kale or spinach, either. They will eat collards, weeds and grass...and lettuce and bannanas and ... **laughs** I have one and only one that will touch spinach or kale and that's way too few to merit putting it out there.

    Also - how big are they? Mine wouldn't eat full leaves or even largely shredded leaves when they were tiny. At roughly four weeks, they started getting really interested in leafy stuff, though. Before that, they wanted much smaller things; and, I had to cut up whatever I was giving them to a pretty fine consistency.

    Now days, they eat pretty much anything - though they make it pretty clear that kale and spinach aren't on the list. Though mustard greens and collards sure are.
     
  3. hbarrios

    hbarrios New Egg

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    Jan 23, 2013
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    They are supposed to start laying this month. I don't know how old that makes them since we got them as pullets. Well I've also tried shredded carrots, apple, pineapple, raisins, popcorn....basically anything left over that we don't eat...they just thing it's foreign and don't eat it! I just don't like that fact that there are so many GMOs in there feed and want them to eat healthier be ill be eating there eggs and them!
     
  4. stake

    stake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I started another thread down the list called gardening for the flock...a bunch of folks had some good ideas...one thing I noticed, is that one person would say 'my birds love.....' then the next person comments, 'mine won't touch it'....I think there is some training involved...if you get one bird to eat something the rest will compete to get some....who knows.....
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    My chickens won't eat kale and other greens unless I tear the leaves into small pieces. I will pick a bunch, then stand around and tear it all up, and they grab it as it hits the ground. Cutting them with scissors works too, but they can pick it themselves if it is growing in the ground.
     
  6. hbarrios

    hbarrios New Egg

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    Jan 23, 2013
    Jonesboro, AR
    @stake I actually read through your thread before posting to see if there was something I could learn...you are right they are very fickle and I will just have to work with them I guess :/ I just don't want them to starve!

    @eggcessive I will try to remember to cut the leaves up...it's just so funny that if its in your garden, they'll eat it no problem! But it's like an alien from another planet if you put it in the coop!!
     
  7. Kilsharion

    Kilsharion Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are non-GMO feeds - like the one I use (H&H) if that is your concern rather than trying to lower/remove feed.

    It's rather odd that they won't eat anything except their bagged feed. I never had to train any of mine to eat something other than their feed. But, there's always been one brave bird that tries the new stuff - then it becomes "oh heck no, s/he can't have it and me not have some..."

    My birds get a bowl of fermented feed in the morning and then they forage the rest of the day except for treat time in the afternoon - where they get scratch grains and get to play chicken keepaway with grapes/bananas/whatever. I'm trying to get the feed levels to even lower levels; but, it's a work in progress and will take years before I can get my garden up to the point of adequate nutrition. And, even then, I'll probably still supplement with bagged feed.
     
  8. hbarrios

    hbarrios New Egg

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    Jan 23, 2013
    Jonesboro, AR
    My chickens free range on most days so they get lots of goodies from the yard. I didn't know that about the feed though! I live in a pretty small town so I may have to order online!
     
  9. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    I have noticed that my chickens seem to have trouble tearing up loose greens when I offer them that way. Naturally, chickens nip smaller pieces off of a still-growing plant, if you ever watch them browse on grass and weeds you will see what I mean. Since it's hardly feasible to grow these greens to maturity in their pen, where they would decimate them as seedlings, I just used a bit of creativity.

    Ideas:

    1. Take a bird suet feeder.. the type that is just a metal mesh cage. Wad as many greens in there as possible, so that the chickens can nip pieces out without getting an entire, too-large-to-swallow, leaf out at once. Mine love to forage in this way.

    2. Use a clothes pin to attach bundles of leaves to wire, say the side of the chicken pen, down at chicken eye-level. They can nip pieces off of the leaves that way.

    This has worked for me. I hope it helps you. Sometimes it takes them a few tries to realize that they love to eat leafy stuff! Mine snubbed the clothespin-leaves for a while, but they always seem to get bored and mess with them before too long passes, and discover how tasty they are!
     
  10. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    What do you mean by sustainable? What are you trying to support/sustain?
     

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