LOTS of feed being wasted

Chicks Galore3

Artistic Bird Nut
8 Years
Dec 16, 2011
8,139
175
326
Iowa
My 8 8 week old chicks have one of those feeders that has the little feeding holes around the bottom and a jar on top. I used that for my last batch of chickens and never remember them wasting a lot of food....my recent guys, however, are spilling it left and right! There is as much food as there is shavings in there! It doesn't help that one of them perches on top of the food, I suppose. My question is - how do I stop them from wasting it and can I let them just eat the food that is in the bedding?
 

pdirt

Songster
6 Years
May 11, 2013
1,611
206
198
Eastern WA
One idea is to either ferment or moisten their food. You'll have to use a different feeder, but being moist, it clumps and they are less prone to toss it around. At least that is my experience as well as many others.

Haven't tried this, but I bet it would work...withhold their feed for a day or two. Then when you do feed them, feed small portions in 2-3 dishes. I bet they won't waste a drop. The 2-3 dishes is to separate the bossy hogs from the timid ones and will reduce hastiness to get the most tasty and/or nutritious bits first, which could be the motivation behind billing through the feed.
 
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pdirt

Songster
6 Years
May 11, 2013
1,611
206
198
Eastern WA
Yes, you can let them eat the food in the bedding. It's called "scratch and peck". Provided the bedding isn't thick full of feces (a few droppings are fine), they will be just fine.
 

Mamabrinkles

In the Brooder
6 Years
Dec 28, 2013
88
6
38
Grand Junction, CO
One thing that will help is elevating it out of the shavings. Put it on a box or something to keep it off the ground. Also my husband does not like them perching on the jar, so he put a point on the top with a funnel so they can't. I have one chick in particular that is a food jerk. She scoops the food right out with her beak to see what is below. For her and her sister who are too young still to go outside with the rest of their girls I made a special bowl by cutting out the center of the lid on a plastic bowl, just leaving enough room for their little heads to both get in there. This worked really well. Good luck!
 

pdirt

Songster
6 Years
May 11, 2013
1,611
206
198
Eastern WA
The famous "Bee" on BYC has yet another solution, though few are strong enough to do it:

culling

Cull the worst offenders of feed wastage and ESPECIALLY do not breed them! She has bred her flock over many years to pick desirable traits, one of which is feed thriftiness. She claims her birds eat 1/4 to 1/2 of what some birds do.
 

pdirt

Songster
6 Years
May 11, 2013
1,611
206
198
Eastern WA
One thing that will help is elevating it out of the shavings. Put it on a box or something to keep it off the ground. Also my husband does not like them perching on the jar, so he put a point on the top with a funnel so they can't. I have one chick in particular that is a food jerk. She scoops the food right out with her beak to see what is below. For her and her sister who are too young still to go outside with the rest of their girls I made a special bowl by cutting out the center of the lid on a plastic bowl, just leaving enough room for their little heads to both get in there. This worked really well. Good luck!
I have heard that if the feeder is raised (or hung) at level equal with the height of the back of the bird, they are less prone to billing through feed. Not sure why, but some claim it works. We have different sizes of birds, so this doesn't work for us. Besides, we feed fermented feed and they don't waste a drop.
 

Chicks Galore3

Artistic Bird Nut
8 Years
Dec 16, 2011
8,139
175
326
Iowa
Culling.
Hahaha, I know you are serious and all, but that stunned me so much I burst out laughing. Definitely one solution!
My thoughts exactly. :p

Thank you everybody! I will let them scratch through and collect some of their spillage and then elevate the feeder. :)
 
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