New Years Resolution - my chicken's diet

Dhkoenig

Songster
Sep 21, 2020
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Bergen County New Jersey
Hi All. I am a new chicken owner (inherited my gals when I bought our home in August) and I have discovered that I am giving them WAYYY too many treats. I was giving them tons of chopped up blueberries, pomegrante seeds, loads of micro-greens and watercress, cherries etc...and also put scratch (with grit and oyster shells) in with their pellets because it seemed that they never ate their pellets. Now - I was reading up on why my birds have messy butts - I realize that I am causing them to have messy poo. In changing it up, do I go "cold turkey" and just put out pellets? (I know I have to give them a few meal worms at bedtime because it is so cold now (teens) or should I do gradual changes? I can't clean their butts right now because two of them have recovered from a tiny bit of frostbite and I don't want them to have even a hint of moisture and I don't have the set up to bring 4 chickens into my hound-filled house and blow dry them...but if I change their diets maybe the situation will resolve itself. My chickens HATE to be handled. It is a crazy scene for me to even catch one to pick them up and when I do they flap and squawk and they are hard to hold on to so I am worried (one of them is molting too!) that even if I figured something out in this house to do a bath, that they would no way sit still for me to do this. Anyway.........my real question is (along with any advice of all the side stuff) should I gradually cut out the fruits/veggies and scratch etc..or should I just immediately stop and go to all pellets. I am worried they will wait for me to bring other stuff and starve. Or hate me LOL
 

21hens-incharge

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Cold turkey.

Slowly decreasing treats is continuing to give to many treats for even longer.

No mixing of anything in their pellets.
Oyster shell and grit are not treats but should not be mixed in. Provide those items in separate dishes near the food. Those that need some will eat what they need.
 

Dhkoenig

Songster
Sep 21, 2020
252
197
108
Bergen County New Jersey
Cold turkey.

Slowly decreasing treats is continuing to give to many treats for even longer.

No mixing of anything in their pellets.
Oyster shell and grit are not treats but should not be mixed in. Provide those items in separate dishes near the food. Those that need some will eat what they need.
Wow that was actually super helpful because I never knew what I was supposed to do with the oyster shells and grit. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to sprinkle it around the run or mix it with the food so thank you for that! Cold turkey is actually easier too because I can just save about a billion dollars and 2 hours of my day LOL. But.....will they hate me? Or starve?
 

Dhkoenig

Songster
Sep 21, 2020
252
197
108
Bergen County New Jersey
Wow that was actually super helpful because I never knew what I was supposed to do with the oyster shells and grit. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to sprinkle it around the run or mix it with the food so thank you for that! Cold turkey is actually easier too because I can just save about a billion dollars and 2 hours of my day LOL. But.....will they hate me? Or starve?
Sorry one more question - are micro-greens counted as a treat? Should I give them just pellets and zero else ever? What about a few meal worms at bedtime? I have heard that helps them rev their metabolism on cold nights? Fact? Fiction?
 

Kiki

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If your flock is layer hens and you are feeding them a layer crumble or pellet there is no need for grit it oyster shell.
 

Kiki

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Sorry one more question - are micro-greens counted as a treat? Should I give them just pellets and zero else ever? What about a few meal worms at bedtime? I have heard that helps them rev their metabolism on cold nights? Fact? Fiction?
Yes. Everything besides the pellet/crumble age appropriate feed is a treat.
 

black_cat

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May 21, 2020
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Cold turkey. As others said, it's propping up the treat giving for longer. Is your flock all hens? What type of feed are you giving them? You shouldn't be mixing anything in with their processed feed.
 

black_cat

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Sorry one more question - are micro-greens counted as a treat? Should I give them just pellets and zero else ever? What about a few meal worms at bedtime? I have heard that helps them rev their metabolism on cold nights? Fact? Fiction?
Anything that ISN"T pellets, grit, oyster shell, or some sort of medicine is counted as a treat. You can still feed them treats, but treats should be less than 10% of their daily diet. Fiction on the mealworm part, but I'm sure they'd like some anyway.
 

21hens-incharge

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Sorry one more question - are micro-greens counted as a treat? Should I give them just pellets and zero else ever? What about a few meal worms at bedtime? I have heard that helps them rev their metabolism on cold nights? Fact? Fiction?

The regular feed is all they NEED. I have found benefits to having Oyster shell and grit available though.

Treats for a group of 4 birds should be limited to about 1/8th cup per day. Yup it ain't much.

Their regular feed will carry them through the night.
 

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