hunger strike????

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by SparksNV, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. SparksNV

    SparksNV Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2010
    Spanish Springs, NV
    I have 6 hens - 2 started laying last week - 1 is close, but the other 3 are at least a month away from eggs. The ones that seemed to have lost weight are the 2 that are laying. I feed them Purina Layena mixed with some Flock Raiser I had. I have feed in the coop and outside the coop. They are locked in their coop until about 7 or 8am. They are in a run (with access to the coop) until I let them out for 1-2 hours most afternoons. Some of the feed is gone out of the feeder in the coop (eaten when they wake up) but the feeder outside the coop is barely touched. I give them BOSS in the afternoon to have them come back to the run. I also offer some of the feed in a bowl with water to make a mash but they don't always eat it.

    Please don't tell me to change feed - I have alot of feed. I don't think I should offer scratch because I think they will eat even less of the feed if they hold out for the scratch. When I go into the run in the afternoon, I change their water and pick up poo & they talk and talk to me. Then they rush the gate when I leave so that they can free range. I like to let them free range but I can't everyday. I know they have been getting some nutrition free ranging.

    I have stopped giving treats about a week ago to encourage pellet eating.

    Questions:

    1. Do hens lose weight when they first start laying?
    2. Should I not let them free range until they start eating the feed?
    3. I read some people give a handful of scratch before going to roost when it's cold, should I do that, too? (we frequently get nights into the 20's-30's) but then they may not eat their pellets if they rely on the scratch.
    4. Should I be concerned - will they eat when they get hungry enough?


    I am worried that with the cold weather and weight loss that I may lose them.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    In general, they will eat when they get hungry. You can give a little scratch if you wish, but I don't see it encouraging them to eat the feed. There's really no reason to give them scratch just because it's cold. If anything they need protein. If they eat a lot before going to bed, blood is channeled to digesting the food, which leaves less for the skin, which makes them colder.
     

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