Is it the feed or the feeder?

VictoriaTemple

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Aug 27, 2018
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My birds kick about 1/2 their feed all over the place, even though I have witnessed them tucking into it with gusto. It's a little powdery (fresh milled, but ground too fine). I can NOT afford TSC's godawful prices for pellets or crumbles except for chick starter, and that's pushing it. They get fresh weeds every day or 2, fruit and veggies, flaked soy and scratch every day, peanuts on occasion...Maybe they're just FULL and kicking it out for fun??

The feeder is a water heater drip pan. They have had that all their lives, and never kicked feed out until I started buying at the mill. Before that I didn't know what Layer and Grower feed were, and fed them only scratch. I'm planning on putting together one of those no-spill feeders with the PVC elbows. I hope it helps.

All the birds are fit and healthy, a little trim but not underweight. They are definitely eating something.
 
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WallyBirdie

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Aug 2, 2019
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Birds like to kick and scratch through their feed. It's not harmful and might just be part of them entertaining themselves. It is only a problem if you have too much wasted feed (as it can invite predators and is a waste of money).

My birds do it. Some have done it since they were chicks.

Good luck with your endeavors!
 

gtaus

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I'm planning on putting together one of those no-spill feeders with the PVC elbows. I hope it helps.

I built one of those 5 gallon feeders with PVC elbows and it works great. Very little wasted feed as the chicken has to put its head into the PVC elbow to get the food. They cannot scratch it out. Just hang the feeder so the PVC opening is about the level of their back.

When I mow my lawn, I use my bagger and throw all the grass clippings in the chicken run. The girls love eating the grass clippings and whatever else they find in there to eat. Since giving them grass clippings, their commercial feed consumption has been cut in half. Because of predator concerns, I don't let my chickens free range. So the grass clippings is my way of bringing the range to them in the chicken run.
 

VictoriaTemple

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Aug 27, 2018
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Southern Chester County, PA
I built one of those 5 gallon feeders with PVC elbows and it works great. Very little wasted feed as the chicken has to put its head into the PVC elbow to get the food. They cannot scratch it out. Just hang the feeder so the PVC opening is about the level of their back.

When I mow my lawn, I use my bagger and throw all the grass clippings in the chicken run. The girls love eating the grass clippings and whatever else they find in there to eat. Since giving them grass clippings, their commercial feed consumption has been cut in half. Because of predator concerns, I don't let my chickens free range. So the grass clippings is my way of bringing the range to them in the chicken run.
That's exactly what I do, minus the mower. I don't own one, so I hand pull weeds and grass. They love it so much!

I have tried wetting the feed, but it goes sour very quickly and they won't touch it.
 

gtaus

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I never considered wetting the powdery portion. Isn't there a concern about it getting moldy?

I think that if you have to wet your feed, then maybe you need to get a different type of feed or a different feeder the dispenses the feed better. The only times I have heard of wetting feed was to treat individual chickens and then they only mixed enough to be eaten right away. Depending on the climate, I would think uneaten wet feed would be subject to mold very quickly.
 

gtaus

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...never kicked feed out until I started buying at the mill. Before that I didn't know what Layer and Grower feed were, and fed them only scratch.

I think most people consider scratch a treat, not a basic feed. Some people buy scratch because it's cheaper, but it's not real food for the birds. I am glad to hear that you have learned about Grower and Layer feed because your birds will be much healthier than just eating scratch. I always have commercial feed available to my girls 24/7 in the 5 gallon hanging PCV feeder, but they prefer to eat grass clippings, kitchen scraps, etc... before eating their dry feed. I don't get too concerned about the ratio of the diet, as my girls seem to be healthy and happy and doing fine.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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I never considered wetting the powdery portion. Isn't there a concern about it getting moldy?

It doesn't get moldy if you only wet enough for the day/meal (I also ferment feed, which is a different matter). And while it's normal to have some powder in a bag of crumbles or pellets but if you find that most of it looks that way, I would either bring it up to the feed store or try a different brand.
 

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