My chicks are scared of scratch


In the Brooder
7 Years
Aug 15, 2012
I read so much about how everybody's chickens love scratch I couldn't wait to feed it to them. They will be 8 weeks old on Wednesday. So, I go to Tractor Supply Company and get the hugest bag of scratch I see. Bring it home and get a little bowl full and fling it towards the chicks. They ran screaming into the bushes! They thought I was trying to kill them. They wouldn't go near it. The only chicken that would touch it was my rooster. He is older than they are. 6 months old maybe. I found him, so I can only guess. He loved it. I guess they need to be a little older to appreciate it.
Chickens are often scared of anything new. I guess it comes with being prey animals. I'm a little surprised they didn't come out an eat when the rooster did, but give them time.

A couple of years ago, I gathered a cup full of corn ear worms while preparing to can some of my corn from the garden. I dumped them out on the ground near a group of 10 week old chicks. The braver chicks would slowly approach those worms, then one worm would wiggle. All chicks would run away. Then a few would slowly start to stalk those worms again, being very careful and ready to run away. Look out. One wiggled. Run away! Run away quick! Finally a really brave one managed to peck a worm. Within 30 seconds that pile of worms had disappeared.

The first time I mowed the grass near the chickens in the run, they ran inside the coop to hide from that horrible riding mower monster. But after a couple if times, they noticed that it was throwing bits of grass into the run as it went by. They soon started crowding the fence when they heard that mower.

Give yours time. They'll learn to come running when you throw out scratch. Heck, they'll come running when they see the bucket.
Glad I'm not the only one with weird chickens.
I thought maybe it was because I flung it. So the next day, I get the bowl and sit in a chair and just wiggle the bowl. The rooster ran so fast I thought he was going to plow into me. He ate it out of the bowl like a starving maniac. But the chicks wouldn't go near it. They will not eat it in a bowl, they will not eat it on the ground, they will not eat it in their house they will not eat it flung around.
The first time I sprinkled scratch for my chicks they ran away too... They wouldn't go near it but loved the greens I tossed to them, that is after they ran away and then came back. It took a few times for them to realize they really did like scratch and wanted more. I have some stored in a glass jar on a high shelf and when they hear me shake the jar they go nuts.
They did the same with worms. Although I do have one little one who is braver than the rest and ran up snatched the worm and took off. I call her Lucky Lucy. She will eat them all if i put too many out since the rest of the flock are too good for worms... (giggle).
Don't worry they will come around when they get a bit older and realize they really do like it.

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