My chickens won't eat fermented feed - any ideas?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Fire Ant Farm, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. Fire Ant Farm

    Fire Ant Farm Get off my lawn Premium Member

    May 5, 2015
    South Texas
    I began feeding my pullets fermented feed when they were about 3 weeks old. They did ok with it, but started not wanting to eat it as they got older. I restarted a batch thinking it got too funky, but they still ate somewhat reluctantly. As they have gotten older, they have been less and less willing to eat much of it. When I started letting them range, they foraged voraciously, and acted like they were starving when they got any treats. So I tried throwing some dry feed on the ground, and they went after it like crazy - I realized how hungry they were and (very guiltily) started giving them some dry feed, first by throwing as scratch, and finally dry food in a feeder.

    I still would like them to eat at least some fermented feed, but they won't touch it. I have tried restarting it a few times, in case it got too funky for them, and finally started doing it in separate new rotating batches of 3 days each. Then I tried giving them the 2 day batch in case the 3 day was too long. I have tried with and without ACV. No help. It doesn't smell remotely bad to me. I'm at a loss at this point.

    I am using a local organic non-GMO pullet developer feed that I'd like to keep using (Coyote Creek).

    Any ideas? I hate to just give up, but it's becoming an exercise in waste at this point...

    - Ant Farm
  2. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    Did your chicks come from hatchery stock? It's hard to verify this, but I have heard that some hatchery stock are so accustomed to dry feed that they are prone to refuse to eat anything but. If this has any truth to it, I expect it would depend upon the particular breed and breeding program (aka, how decent are the genetics of that particular breed line).

    Was your fermented feed consistency thick like thick oatmeal or runny like watery soup? If it's too runny, they won't eat it as well.

    You could also try top dressing the fermented feed with something you know they like. Top dress with dry feed, corn, bread, yogurt, etc. Also a feeder might make the difference, I use this one we made:

  3. Fire Ant Farm

    Fire Ant Farm Get off my lawn Premium Member

    May 5, 2015
    South Texas
    Interesting... I have Cream Legbars from a hatchery (Meyer, via My Pet Chicken).

    Consistency is like thick oatmeal. They pick a bit at it, they just don't eat much at all. I feed it to them in a small metal cat food bowl (they eat so little that I don't put enough out to fill the planned feeder I was going to build - I would just have to throw a lot of uneaten feed out). Top dressing is a good idea - I'll try that. Thanks!

    - Ant Farm
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015
  4. elissamay

    elissamay Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2015
    Mine have just started turning their nose up at fermented feed and seem to prefer filling up on the same (organic, non-GMO, fancypants) pellets dry from their feeder. I usually don't keep free feed pellets in their run, but I had some extra that didn't fit in my storage bin, so I gave it to them. Now they are being obstinate! Unfortunately for me, I have a gorgeous jar of fermented pellet waiting for them. They will eat it one way or another. :D
  5. LaCageAuxFowls

    LaCageAuxFowls Just Hatched

    Mar 31, 2017
    Valparaiso, Indiana
    I have the exact same problem. Mine came from my local Big R and are 5 different breeds (I only have the 5 and I am a first timer). I am also feeding an Organic (Nature Smart Chick Starter Grower, 20% crumble). I estimate they are about 5 weeks old and all but one seem to have most of their proper feathers. They are still living in the house as it is still cold here at night, but I hope to free-range them eventually. I sprinkle a little of the dry on top, hoping to peak their interest...sometimes it works, sometimes not. I'll let you know how it the way, how long do they eat the Chick starter?
  6. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge True BYC Addict

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    Hatchery chicks are not fed before shipping. They are out of the egg, off to sexing and into the boxes.
    Being hatchery stock has nothing to do with it.

    Let them eat dry for a week then reintroduce fermented. Put only a small amount in the dish so they finish it all.

    Not all birds like fermented feed. I have a couple that won't hardly touch it and others that refuse treats if fermented has just been put in the dish.

    Each bird is unique.

    Oh and they should be on starter/chick feed until they lay an egg. Giving nonlaying birds layer feed is to much calcium.
  7. Noreaster Egger

    Noreaster Egger Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2016
    Mine are all hatchery birds (Agway via Mt Healthy) and are addicted to the fermented feed. I will say that my girls prefer fresh ferment only. Any that has sat out for longer than 24hrs they tend to avoid. So now I make sure they finish everything I give them before adding a new jar of ferment.

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