My hens won't eat anything other than regular feed

claudiabostic

In the Brooder
Jul 14, 2020
22
40
36
East Tennessee USA
I introduce my chicks to greens starting at about 3 weeks. They don't really eat them until 4 or 5 weeks, until then they are just playing around with them for the most part. Chickens are very wary of new foods. They are not at all good at throwing up, and they even have a hard time spitting something out once it's in their beak. So they are quite slow to try something totally new. It often takes days or even weeks to get them interested. The earlier in life you can introduce new categories of food, the better. Start with pieces that are definitely smaller than they are, even pieces that they can easily fit in their beaks and swallow. First they will look at it with one eye then the other. Eventually someone will get up the courage to peck it. They will probably take one taste and wait a while. If it makes them feel ill they won't eat it again. If it makes them feel good they will come back for a little more. After a while it will be something they remember eating and liking. Once they like one type of fruit, they'll be more likely to try another kind of fruit. Once they like one type of greens, they're more likely to try another kind of greens. Whatever type of food they are used to, they will be more likely to try something that looks only a little different. Also you might try bringing in new foods in the afternoon. They've been eating their usual food all morning, now they are a bit bored and maybe more likely to try something new.
 

Foxinthehenhouse

Chirping
Aug 7, 2019
117
139
89
Cruso, NC
Two young pullets on their own don’t have older hens to learn from. If it’s that important that they eat your treats maybe take a small slice of watermelon and press some of their feed on top of it and scatter a little around it. They might get a taste of it when they pick their food out! Good luck.
 

Diesel69er

In the Brooder
May 23, 2020
25
73
43
I'm a backyard chicken newbie. I have two hens around 7 and 10 weeks old. I have them on the grower feed. I've read that chickens love watermelon on hot days, so I put a slice of watermelon in there, and they didn't even touch it. I also read that they like tomatoes and I threw some in there as well. The hens also completely ignored those.

Any thoughts?
Keep up the good work and they will eventually decide for themselves
My young flock of eight were very finicky about what they chose to eat
They now are big fans of apples,tomatoes,watermelo, grapes, and so many more
Have fun and enjoy while they are small
👍❤🙏🇺🇸🐓👌🐔
 

Sea Wolf

Songster
5 Years
Apr 30, 2015
458
772
166
Taxachusetts
The grower feed is what they need. It is a full and balanced diet. They do not need the addition of anything else. Adding other things can also easily screw up the nutrition balance of that feed. My birds do not get anything other than their feed. They free range once or twice a week only. Very small amounts of treats are saved for hand feeding only.
 

CJONESFAY

Chirping
May 3, 2016
15
25
82
I'm a backyard chicken newbie. I have two hens around 7 and 10 weeks old. I have them on the grower feed. I've read that chickens love watermelon on hot days, so I put a slice of watermelon in there, and they didn't even touch it. I also read that they like tomatoes and I threw some in there as well. The hens also completely ignored those.

Any thoughts?
my birds always get with it when I introduce them to mealy worms....kind of like chicken cocaine lol even new babies that are slow to respond
 

Red-Stars-in-RI

Songster
6 Years
Mar 24, 2014
681
1,282
226
Rhode Island
You’ll see the full range of opinions in this site (“nothing but commercial feed” to “what’s commercial feed?”). You can have healthy, happy chicken anywhere on that spectrum if you do it right.

I’ll agree with others that say try again and give it time. A 3-5 week old chick and an 8-10 week old chick are very different animals - think about the difference if you gave a whole pizza to an infant vs a teenager - so patience is key.
 

MaryAlisa

In the Brooder
Jul 21, 2020
18
27
36
Hi, I got my first chickens from a breeder this spring and apparently they had never eaten anything other than pellets/crumbles. I let them go free range hoping they'd eat insects but they refused. Slowly over a few months I trained them by putting lettuce in their feeder. I put bugs in their feeder and they acted grossed out 😆 I put out yummy food scraps and sprinkled their pellets on top, and that seemed to help. Slowly. What really made a difference was when I got two new pullets from a place where they had already ranged and learned to eat bugs. The little ones have taught the older and now they're a great team and clearing my yard of grasshoppers and earwigs. I also limited their pellets during the day so they are motivated to forage. Good luck!
 

gocyndygo

In the Brooder
Apr 18, 2020
21
21
23
Exactly. Even the moles on my arms they peck at. Maybe they think that we're just walking smorgasboards. (excuse my horrendous spelling)
I know what you mean! I have a pair of shorts with paint stains on them, my chickees will peck at those, as well as any marks on my legs. They also love my 4Ocean bracelet. I have to "peck" them on the head with my finger tip sometimes to get them to leave me alone!
 

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