My chickens have about stopped eating, I'm really woried.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by infinitijeff, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. infinitijeff

    infinitijeff Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 2, 2010
    I originally bought a tractor back in July with 3 hens (age?) which they laid 1-3 eggs a day. They ate well. I bought a young RIR rooster who was only 3 months old but good size and tried to intergrate him into the group. The lead hen had him on his side and probably would have killed him. I put a dividing fence between the rooster and hens with housing and a roost for the rooster attached to the tractor so I could move it around. I don't know if was the cold or me putting the now larger rooster in with them, They have submitted to the much larger occupant and relations are good now. I've seen him try to mount(whatever the proper word is for mating, getting it on) the hens ecspecially one of them. But now they all are not really eating very little unless I go out there and throw some on the ground for them, then they act like they are starving or they like to just to peck their food. They do drink their water. I am now getting 0-1 egg a day. It has turned off colder. I have enclosed a nice house with plenty of room and move the tractor every 3-4 days. What should I do? Please help.
    ]From an inexperienced father:/. Thanks.
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I have had a rooster in the past with 5 hens. He overbred them (too much mating).

    If your ladies are too intimidated to go to the feeder, then you might need to separate him again, which lowers his rank in the pecking order temporarily.

    Some people say their hens are too scared to come down from the roost in the morning because the rooster is there. The typical recommended number of hens to roos is 8 to 12 hens per rooster.

    That way, they don't get overbred. This roo might be just plain mean to his ladies, or maybe they are just timid little things. If they aren't eating, I would say that is a distress call.

    The other alternative is that they are sick with something. Not eating can be an illness too. Do they seem ill?
  3. infinitijeff

    infinitijeff Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 2, 2010
    I can't tell they are sick. There is alot of poop though. I do move the tractor every 2-4 days. I really don't believe he is dominating them. They sleep up against him at night except for one who likes to sleep in a nestbox. The only time in the morning I will see them sit on a roost and will watch him on the ground. They all seem to be happy, but the girls seem to be losing weight. You think he is overworking them? I did recently, last week, do a major overhaul of there hen house part to enclose it, put a window in, but I did leave the bottom open. My rooster is only is only 5 months old from what the guy I bought it from saidhe was born end of apr- 1st of may. His daddy was huge and he has gotten alot bigger since I bought him. He just recently started crowing(sounds like a sick crowing, but I know he's just starting). My tractor isn't big enough and I don't want to seperate them, they seem happy. Should I just broadcast feed them. I did cover the feeder top for a couple of days because I think they eat from the top and had gotten it wet one day. I have taken it off now.Thanks for your help.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You could try putting a little aluminum pie pan with food in it, or cottage cheese container as an experiment. Maybe they will feel able to eat from it. Broadcasting food on the ground is fine for smaller amounts, but if it gets damp and sits overnight it can get moldy, which can kill chickens.

    That is what I would try next (if it were me, but you know your situation better than me obviously!) - just a cheap pan to see if they just need a second feeder.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I suspect the hen-rooster ratio is precarious. Can you get him with more hens, or move him for the winter?
  6. Caseman

    Caseman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 22, 2010
    Lexington, KY
    I keep 1 rooster to 2 hens in a coop and have 7 coops like this. In time the rooster will settle down and will not over mate with them.. They will eat when they need to..they will not starve with food in there with them..Roosters like a small flock and my flocks are Bantams, when the hens go in to lay he goes with them and watchs after them.. You do not need a large flock for 1 rooster..[​IMG]
  7. infinitijeff

    infinitijeff Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 2, 2010
    thanks for your answers. I have taken the rooster out. they seemed to eat more and gain weight, but still only getting one egg every 2-3 days. I put him back in and he does seem to not let them eat. Do I just need more hens? He is outside the tractor and just walks round and round it. The girls seem like they want him back in, but I want them to be able to eat when they want. It really is making a difference whether the roo is in there or not as far as egg production is now.
  8. Elphaba2140

    Elphaba2140 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2010
    Northern Illinois
    Can you put a small feeder in the house. I had the same issue. The girls would all stand in the door and say - "No you go first!" "Oh no I insist you go first". It was kind of funny. Once someone got down the ramp and distracted the rooster then the others would rush down and eat. And every time he saw them bent over eating he would just help himself. They were not happy. I had 1 Roo and 14 girls too. He was a busy boy. Young and inexperienced. Things should get better the older he gets but this could work for you and the girls.
  9. FlipFlopFarmer

    FlipFlopFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    personally, i would deworm them, just incase its a parasite problem. secondly, with my own hens, they go on a mini hunger strike when i put only pellets for them. they like laying crumbles, and i have noticed a HUGE increase in eggs after i started feeding them just laying crumbles in thier feeder. I would put a small feeder in the coop part of the tractor, and keep moving it every few days. good luck
  10. Organics North

    Organics North Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    Quote:You do not say where you are from.. In my part of the world it is getting very dark and cold, and chickens slow down, eat less, lay less and so forth.. It can be part of a seasonal cycle. (Maybe they are beginning to molt?)
    I do not not believe in medicating birds unless I am sure of what is wrong... So I would not worm them, but to each their own. (Maybe their feed is old?) If nothing else it sounds as if the Rooster needs to learn some manners.. Me I would pick him up firmly and hold him sideways with his head on the ground under the hens as they eat.. Let him up, see if he backs off and lets them eat, as a Rooster should..!!!
    Do this many times...

    If he can not learn I would get rid of him.. A Rooster should find food and call the hens over letting them eat... (It is part of proper courtship..[​IMG])


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