Little birds eating our feed

tom e

9 Years
Feb 13, 2010
Ventura County
I know what I want to do about it, just don't know if it would be ok to do or not. It seems like the chickens eat what they forage most of the day anyway. Would it be ok to take the feeder away any time they are not locked in the coop? That would be like after 7-8 in the morning until 6 or so at night. We have about 16 birds now and 1/3 acre of grass/weeds/snails etc. Doable or big mistake?
Doable, but possibly with consequences. Will they get unhealthy and die on you? I seriously doubt it. The consequences I'm thinking of are more along the lines of the egg production dropping a little or, more likely, the egg size will drop a bit. It may or may not be noticable. If they are eating less protein, the egg sized can drop.

I'm assuming you are feeding Layer. You might want to offer oyster shell free choice if you do this. They may be getting plenty of calcium from their foraging. You can tell by what shape the egg shells are in after a while. I don't think it is ever wrong to offer oyster shell free choise, just that it is often not necessary.

Somebody may suggest feeding in the coop. That might work for them, but I find the birds go in my coop after the feed, especially if there is snow on the ground.

I've been feeding Grower crumbles with oyster shell on the side this winter since I had young birds with the flock. I don't know if switching back to pellets will slow the small birds down.

Just some thoughts. Good luck!
I don't feed layer. I feed grower and a mixed grain product (I think it's local- has lots of legumes though so I would not call it a scratch) on alternating feeds- oyster shell free choice. I would continue the oyster shell either way..
The birds are going after the feed into the coop. Most of the time when I go into the coop to get eggs, there is a frantic bird banging on the walls trying to go out. I watched this morning from the window as I had coffee and it's like drive through service. Pretty brisk business for these little thieves.

Don't want to close the coop up, cause my egg boxes are in there.
I had the same problem til I finished my run. There were hundreds of fat little sparrows gathered around the coop singing very loudly. I was cleaning up more little bird poop then chicken poop. I would say you better find a way to fence them out or just learn to like feeding them.
Bird netting over the chicken wire? We also have the zillions of little birds, although I think it's less of a problem now that I've put proper feeders in and installed them correctly - they hang from strings, the tops are closed with home-made lids, and the strings have 'em up off of the floor so the feed stays cleaner. And they're swingy so there aren't chickens perching on top of them and pooping over the edge into the feed. The land owner was just throwing feed out onto the floor of the coop, or putting it into dishes that got pooped in, kicked over, and filled with dirt and poop etc.

The feeders I got are the ones from Tractor Supply, that have a top and bottom that snap together, hold 7 lbs of feed. Made in China, nothing special, but so far I'm real happy with them.

There was so much feed being wasted by getting wet (the erstwhile watering method was great for getting water everywhere but into the chickens) getting dirty, or just plain getting lost. And the sparrows were getting their share. Now, I think the sparrows are eating less, and a LOT less, is not being lost or spoiled.

The only way I can think of to get the little birds out is to put bird netting over your coop. That WILL do the job, it works for keeping them off of our fig tree so we get to eat figs, etc.
I don't use chicken wire, use hardware cloth. The birds can't go through it as it is. The door is open so that the chickens can go though and lay eggs and that's how the little birds get in too.

Closing that access closes access to the chickens. They are bigger.
Maybe I can offer the feeder three times a day? Before school, after school (about 1:00-2:00) and again in the evening when they go back to the coop? Anybody think this might be good enough?

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