1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

My chickens eating birdseed and ignoring pellets; what to do?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by GardenerGal, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. GardenerGal

    GardenerGal Songster

    Dec 20, 2008
    Well, ever since I started throwing a scoop of birdseed into the run every day to keep the chickens busy, they are scarfing it all down and ignoring their layer pellets. The birdseed is okay nutritionally (millet, small sunflower seeds, cracked corn, milo, plus calcium carbonate) but not nutritionally balanced. Although they also get kitchen scraps and weekly treats of fishfood flakes (for protein) I really want my birds to eat their pellets. They used to eat it fine before I spoiled them with the scratch. How can I "wean" them off birdseed and back to their Blue Seal feed, without depriving them of scratch altogether?
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010

    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    You don't have to "wean" them just cut back on the birdseed, if they're hungry they'll eat what's available to them.
  3. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Songster

    Dec 28, 2009
  4. GardenerGal

    GardenerGal Songster

    Dec 20, 2008
    That definitely is the commonsense answer. [​IMG] The problem I've had is that I already tried that. The chooks ate what little scratch was there, then went hungry all day. They wouldn't touch the pellets (I've tried crumbles too, to no avail, even though it sort of looks like scratch). At dusk they all had empty crops. I was too softhearted and caved -- put out some scratch and they stuffed themselves like they hadn't eaten in days.

    Guess I'll have to harden up, huh? [​IMG]
  5. emys

    emys Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Guess I'll have to harden up, huh? hmm

    Yep, they weren't hungry enough.​
  6. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    Take away the scratch completely until they start eating the pellets again. Then give them a LITTLE...just a handful or two (depending on how many birds you have). I leave mine in the coop/run until 8am or later, so they eat pellets until they are let out to free range. On my days off (I work 12 hour shifts) I will throw them out some scratch during the day sometime...just a few handfuls, not a whole scoop. Then if they don't find enough to eat free ranging they will usually go back to the coop and eat pellets again before bedtime. If they get hungry enough they will eat those pellets!
  7. SparksNV

    SparksNV Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    Spanish Springs, NV
    Thanks - timely info - I'm dealing with the same issue. I do offer the pellet food in a bowl with some water first thing in the morning & they will eat that. I have backed off on treats.
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    D'Angelo N Va. :


    Double [​IMG] A chicken won't starve itself if appropriate food is available to them. Just get a bit hard hearted.​
  9. GardenerGal

    GardenerGal Songster

    Dec 20, 2008
    Thanks all, and especially oldchickenlady. I'm combining "heard hearted" with that gradual re-introduction of limited treats.
  10. Organics North

    Organics North Songster

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    Maybe try a different brand of feed... The birds could be trying to tell you something?
    Maybe the feed is no good or stale?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: