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Not Eating Feed - Help Please!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by TheTinyHen, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. TheTinyHen

    TheTinyHen In the Brooder

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    I have six hens but one is not eating the feed. I don't believe this is a new phenomenon as she is the smallest. I am feeding all six grower pellets because she is not laying yet.

    She will eat everything (watermelon, corn cobs, scratch, grapes, etc..) but not the feed. This morning I even combined scratch and feed in a container (only for her) with the hope that she would eat the feed in addition to the scratch. She ended up eating all of the scratch and left the feed. I even watched her spit a feed pellet out of her mouth.

    I am worried about her since she is very small and underdeveloped, especially as the temperatures get colder. I am looking for any and all suggestions!!
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road 5 Years

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    Wet the feed down, or even better yet, ferment it. Stop giving her treats. What is the mill date on your bag of feed? It has an acceptable shelf life of 6 weeks, and rapidly starts to go rancid after that date. What is the protein content of your feed?
     
    Kathy Golla, Akrnaf2, azygous and 3 others like this.
  3. TheTinyHen

    TheTinyHen In the Brooder

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    The protein content is 15%. I will check the mill date. It is probably close to or just about 6 weeks old. I do have a brand new bag that I can open.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging 7 Years

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    Check the mfg. date on the new bag. Frequently I find bags of feed that are already 3 months old or more at the feed store.
    If you eliminate all treats and scratch, she won't have a choice but to eat the feed. The scratch isn't doing her any good nutritionally.
    If she eats, she won't starve herself when only offered feed.
     
    ChickNanny13 and TheTinyHen like this.
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road 5 Years

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    IMO protein content of your feed is too low. By adding snacks to that you are depleting her protein even more. Old feed can be a big issue as well.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging 7 Years

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    X2 Grower pellets should be at least 18% protein.
    I have used 16% grower in the past but 15% is usually a finisher ration.
     
    azygous, TheTinyHen and Folly's place like this.
  7. TheTinyHen

    TheTinyHen In the Brooder

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    Thank you so much for your suggestions! I will definitely stop snacks and I have opened the new bag of food. I am disappointed to hear that the protein content of my feed is too low, I will definitely look into getting some different feed.

    What does wetting her food do? I noticed that she was picking at some feed that I had dropped today, it was raining so it was wet. I can give that a try also.
     
  8. Smuvers Farm

    Smuvers Farm Melvin Up the Taterhole

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    Wetting the food makes it easier to eat. She might have problems with eating the pellets... crumble might be easier for her.....
     
    TheTinyHen likes this.
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging 7 Years

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    Wetting the feed usually eliminates billing out, cutting down on waste.
    It has a side benefit of binding up the fines into the mass. All the vitamins, minerals and some amino acids are added as powders before the feed is pelletized so when there are fine particles at the bottom of the feeder, much of that is where the added nutrients are. Most manufacturers understand that and bump up those ingredients a bit to compensate.
     
    TheTinyHen and azygous like this.
  10. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging 8 Years

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    Yes, I agree that you're not getting your money's worth from the feed you've bought. A grower formula should be at least 18% . I feed Purina Flock Raiser as a matter of general management and it's 20%, about the same as chick starter.

    Also, some chickens simply hate pellets. While the pellets cut down on waste and are cheaper in cost than crumbles, chickens prefer the crumbles. Crumbles are also more "interesting" for chickens to eat, requiring more involvement and enjoyment. Betcha didn't know there was a psychological factor involved in chickens' appetites and food preferences.

    I also highly recommend you consider fermenting your feed. That will maximize nutrients and flock satisfaction at the feeder. It's usually offered just twice a day rather than free-choice, further enhancing efficient consumption and eliminating waster.
     
    TheTinyHen likes this.

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