More than DOUBLE food and water?! WHATS WRONG?!?!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kukupecpec, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. kukupecpec

    kukupecpec Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Alright so I'm still pretty new to these guys and I'm easily worried. I've had these 6 just started pullets for 2 months. I'm a full time student and I worked very little so they got let out for free ranging often, but I just got a new job 2 weeks ago and the schedule has been keeping me away longer so they are stuck in their coop all day except on weekends when they are out all day long.

    the first month or so their 1 gallon waterer and small feeder lasted 2 days (I'm in HOT HOT HOT Tucson AZ for reference), so I would refill both every other day when I came out to check on them first thing in the morning before school. The last 2 weeks, their intake of both food and water have more than doubled!! I came out one night and their water was empty even though I had filled it up that morning. So I filled it back up and suddenly ALL the girls were running and fighting over the water like they were DYING. So I came back in 15 min to check and the WHOLE GALLON was empty! I refilled it again, and once again they all came running like mad! Same deal. But then it was time to lock up and go to bed, so I filled it up and put them away. Next morning, bone dry waterer. Same thing, filled it up, chickens thin it's the last water on earth and fight like mad over it, but this time I had to go to school. Came home at lunch and had to refill it again, and again when I came home from work that night. Next day I refill the food with the water and now they are treating the FOOD like they are starving to death! I swear I don't deprive my chickens! I don't know what's going on! For almost two weeks I have to refill their food and water 3 times a day and it's completely empty every time I go back to refill. I am going to the store TODAY to buy them a bigger feeder and waterer, but I want to make sure there is nothing wrong with them.

    Their egg production has slowed way down, and there seems to be a lot of fuzzy under feathers flying around. I wonder if they are starting to molt? Or if they are picking on each other being cooped up all day? -- I've made plans for my husband to let them out in the afternoons since he's home long before me so they will get a couple of hours out each day.

    *** I did switch their food just after the water intake increase happened. They were on a feed store layer crumble and a friend suggested I switch to Walmart egg layer crumble (what she has used for YEARS) because it's 4x as much feed for half the price - made sense to me! But could this be causing all my problems?

    I'm just really worried about them and want to make sure they are ok.
     
  2. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    My Coop
    Your waterer is leaking. Six chickens wouldn't drink that much water. The increase in food consumption could be due to a number of factors. First, the weather here is MUCH cooler than it was just a couple weeks ago. As it cools off, they will eat more. Also, you might have other critters eating the feed. The wild birds here in Tucson are notorious for eating as much as the chickens do. You may also now have more mice. And yes, your bird(s) may very well be molting. The first of mine started about three weeks ago, a few others have joined in.
     
  3. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would suspect the waterer is leaking big time, no way they drink a gallon in 15 minutes. There may be some other critter(s) feeder helping empty it.
     

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