My chickens aren't eating

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lemurchaser, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. lemurchaser

    lemurchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2008
    Corvallis, OR
    A little history. I have a group of 5 laying pullets (4-6 months old). They have been free ranging in my fenced back yard since they were 2 months old (cooped at night). For reasons I won't go into, I am now keeping them confined more (they have a 10'x10' fully enclosed and covered run).

    I've noticed that they haven't been eating their pellets at all. There is a 3 lb feeder in there that is still full from 10 days ago. I've been letting them out every other day for a few hours to free range (and they stuff their crops), and been giving them scraps (salad, grapes, tomatoes, slice of bread here and there) and scratch (1-2 cups a day) and they eat all that greedily. I just don't feel like the extras are enough to live off of. They are CONSTANTLY fussing in their pen, and acting like they are hungry. If I don't give them scratch then they throw a fit and make a ton of noise. I'm worried my neighbors are going to complain. This has been going on for 3 weeks.

    They aren't molting, otherwise look and act healthy, good healthy poops. I'm not really worried about them, but I guess am looking for tips on how to help free range birds adjust to confinement.
     
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    They're probably low in protein, makes them hungry and edgy. Cut back the treats and let them eat the pellets! Check the feeder for freshness, too, just in case...
     
  3. warren

    warren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 29, 2007
    UK
    I mix a little boiling water with the pellets to make a sort of porridge, let it cool a little, and they love it.
    Also, sometimes I mix fromage frais with the pellets. Just enough to make them sticky. They love that too.
    I think that they find the pellets a little insipid and if they have access to treats they will eat them instead. It's only natural.
     
  4. Renee

    Renee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2008
    CALIFORNIA
    I know! It's like getting a little kid to eat broccoli! My chickens prefer EVERYTHING, including sticks, to layer pellets. I had to ask the little girls next door to stop throwing scratch over the fence and I stopped giving them any treats at all. (Well, I give them a tiny amount of vegetable a few times a week, and they have some access to grass.)

    Now they eat the pellets, but they don't like it. That stuff must really taste bad. The other problem is that it only comes in 20lb sacks, and four chickens can't eat that much of it in a reasonable period of time, so I wonder if it gets stale.
     

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