My hens won't eat anything other than regular feed

gocyndygo

In the Brooder
Apr 18, 2020
21
21
23
In regards to getting them to try new food, we have found a good trick- we "peck" at it with our finger, imitating how a chicken pecks to eat. I really think this works because they think of us as just really large chickens. They watch us and think "oh, THAT'S what I'm supposed to do!"
 

orloffer

Crowing
Jun 10, 2020
2,109
9,547
343
SF Bay Area, CA
To my knowledge, they didn't even touch it. Ignored it entirely. That's a good idea. I'll try holding food in my hand. I haven't tried feeding them from my hands at all yet.
I haven't read past page one of the thread, but in my experience my chickens will not try a new food unless I am holding it out to them in my hand. They love watermelon, but they lose interest in a piece as soon as it falls onto the floor.
 
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?
Mine ignored it the 1st time or 2, but then it was on!
 

Red-Stars-in-RI

Songster
6 Years
Mar 24, 2014
681
1,282
226
Rhode Island
In regards to getting them to try new food, we have found a good trick- we "peck" at it with our finger, imitating how a chicken pecks to eat. I really think this works because they think of us as just really large chickens. They watch us and think "oh, THAT'S what I'm supposed to do!"
OK... the first time I read this, I missed the “with our finger” part and laughed out loud at the visual. :D :p
 

Lucky Momma

Chirping
Premium Feather Member
Apr 25, 2020
169
505
83
Marshall, NC
To consider anything other than commercially processed rations to be nutritionally unsound “treats” is somewhat misguided, just as is the notion that optimal health could possibly be obtained on a diet consisting exclusively of that commercially processed feed.

When chicks are raised by a mother hen and given opportunity to range, they’re all out there together by day two, and they aren’t foraging for grower pellets. Some of the most important early foods young, brooder raised chicks should be given are clumps of greens - chickweed, dandelions, untreated grass - roots, dirt ball and all, to help establish the gut bacteria. It makes sad sense that if grower ration was the only food a bird had known for its entire life it might be a little hesitant to try anything new.

Don‘t give up! Be patient and continue to offer your girls fresh, real foods. And on the watermelon- leave a nice layer of red flesh on intact “smiles“ of rind, large enough to stabilize like a plate, and they will work for hours pecking off every bit of flesh.
 

thepick4uchicks

Songster
May 23, 2020
848
1,396
143
Mississippi
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?
I am not surprised at all. My kiddos at that age would only eat treats that they had seen me put in my mouth and eat first. They are 18 weeks right now and I guarantee you that they would not touch a tomato. That is okay with me because I don’t believe that nightshades are the best foods for them. I have not tried them on any watermelon yet because we haven’t had any this year just by chance but they love any other garden greens like cucumbers, carrots, lettuces, and the tops of carrots as well as herbs. I have kept my girls on their feed and I believe after all my research that it is best to keep that focus as best. It is what their main need is. The starter grower protein and not a lot of other garbage thrown in as treats. Be glad that your girls eat their feed well. That is a benefit. People that try to get their chicks to stray or vary off from their feed too much are really doing a disservice to their chickens and not keeping them on the healthier side of things in my book. I believe that you will find that most chicken keepers with the most horse sense in here will tell you the same thing. They need to remain on starter grower feed until around 22 weeks or until they have laid their first egg and then changed to layer feed. Then feed them layer feed with oyster shell- added calcium in the feed OR layer feed and you provide oyster shell on the side in a separate dish. Now if you have roosters you can provide an all flock feed and oyster shell in a separate dish. Your roosters know not to take the oyster shell. But the layer feed is better for your hens and really not for your roosters. Their is a great deal of research and arguments on this topic but you will have to decide for yourself which you want to do for your birds. After all they are yours and yours alone. 😊🐥😊
 

goslowlowe

Chirping
7 Years
Mar 17, 2013
2
0
59
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?
I’m no expert but our 18 birds weren’t interested in much until they were older , like 6-8 months . I had gotten about 30 pumpkins for them last November when they about 4 months old and cut them in quarters and put them in the run. They pIckes ya them some
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?
Im no expert but thats kinda young . Our birds didn’t accept to many offerings until they were 6-8 months old . Even then hesitant and skeptical . Now at just over a year They come flying /running/ squawking as fast as they can And with all their heart for French fries,bread, treats, grapes, cooked eggs, watermelon , pumpkin,....... We’ve seen them eat snakes,bugs,ants,locusts, cicadas and anything else they can shove in ! My wife trained them on treats to get them back in the run and coop every night at first . Now they’re spoiled . Over two days time the watermelon slices were down to bare outer skin .
 

Karalyn

Chirping
May 23, 2017
26
56
76
Mine didn’t start eating food like that until they were about 4 months old. I have laying hens now that were given to me and they haven’t Yet started eating the snacks I give my girls. They just don’t know what it is.
 

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