My chickens are spoiled!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by badmajon, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. badmajon

    badmajon New Egg

    Sep 25, 2012
    Hello everyone,

    My family just got our first backyard flock. We have 4 Rhode Island Red hens living free range in our backyard with a small coop. My dad always told me his chickens ate anything, but mine are really fussy- they only want to eat the commercial crumble feed!

    What we usually do is leave food and water in the coop in the evenings when we lock them in the coop, and then during the day leave them to forage for themselves in the (relatively large) backyard. When we let them out in the morning, we take away the feeder, and leave the water behind the coop in the shade.

    I tried giving them greens, cooked rice, strawberries, apples, even a half eaten PB&J sandwich... pretty much the first dibs of what usually goes in the compost bin. They had no interest, they just follow me around puppies until they realize I'm not giving them feed then they do their little be-gawk "what the heck" sound and walk off.

    I would like to diversify their diet since I've read bad things about corn and chickens- I am a home brewer too and I took one whiff of that feed and it smells like something I'd brew (mostly sugars) with not a very balanced or natural diet for a chicken.

    Any ideas?
  2. Y N dottes

    Y N dottes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2012
    South Central WI
    Wow, they didnt like apples or stawberries?!?!......I have two Rhode island reds and 3 barred rocks and they all love apples, watermelon, tomatos, and earth worms. Actually, they like ever kind of fruit ive given them, but theyre a liitle picky on the vegatebles.(im that way too so i cant blame them). Their favorite is probably tomatos though,.. have u tried tomatos? 1 of my RIRs is a little picky and wont eat some of the things the others will, but my BRs have the most treat-obsessed minds ever.
  3. badmajon

    badmajon New Egg

    Sep 25, 2012
    No, they don't even eat strawberries. One of my hens picked a bit at one just this evening, then left it.

    I don't know what to do, except basically starve them until they get hungry enough to accept whatever I give them. That doesn't seem very kind though.

    The chicken book I have, "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens" also makes it out like chickens eat anything and claims that they should like all the things I am unsuccessfully trying to feed them.


    Has nobody else experienced what I am describing? If its just my girls that act this way, maybe there is something medically wrong with them???
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border

    Are these grown hens? If so, they have probably had the commercial feed their entire lives. Youngsters are often very slow to try new things, especially if they don't have Mom to show them what is good.

    I have alpine strawberries in the yard. By the way, those things can be a little invasive in the lawn. The berries are tiny but when I've seen one ripe, the hens completely ignore it. DW teases me about them not eating worms. This is the 1st flock that must find them scary, or something . . !

    Give them more than 1 chance. If you put a cucumber, cut in half, in there 1 day - put another 1 in there the next day. They are likely to sample it after awhile. It may only be 1 hen that eats the cucumbers but the others will be tempted and probably join her at some time.

    Yes, tomatoes must be very tasty to them. Zucchini, winter squash, lettuce, corn on the cob - they can get to be quite the pests after awhile about these things. But, don't forget that eggs are loaded with protein and many of these veggies and fruits are not. What protein that is in them, isn't balanced like egg protein so the additional protein components have to come from somewhere. Hens cannot make eggs without having the surplus nutrients in their diet that make an egg possible.

  5. AlicesSilkies

    AlicesSilkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Corn on the cob, is a good one, because they can play with it too[​IMG]
    Also when it gets chilly in the morning, i give my girls warm porridge, its their fave!!!
    Long cooked spagetti, they actually think its worms. [​IMG]

    Good luck, oh and [​IMG]

    Deffo try something warm, it might tempt them!!!

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