Not eating- need advice

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by zippitydooda, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. zippitydooda

    zippitydooda Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2010
    Ottawa, Ohio
    I have a flock of 15 hens, all around 6 months old. They were given chick feed until about the end of October when a few started laying. I switched to layer crumbles, and they all ate normally. The weather has changed drastically (below freezing), so I added some scratch and BOSS (which I normally only give as a treat). I have tossed both of those out in the run so they have something to work on during the day. I change their water often so it isn't frozen, and they are drinking but the layer crumbles level hasn't gone down in 2 days. I supplement them with fresh greens (cabbage, left-over veggies & fruit) which they eat right up, but I do not give them very much at one time. I'm concerned that they aren't getting enough to eat though since the crumbles are not getting eaten. Should I change it again? Any advice is very VERY welcome. Thanks in advance!

  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Sometimes my older hens don't touch the layena pellets for days. I don't worry too much about it. I do make them a salad every night and they free range all day long. I figure they are chickens and probably aren't planning suicide by starvation.
    You could try mixing their treats with their feed.
    Also feel their crops when they go to bed to see if there is something in there.

    Good luck

  3. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    I have noticed the same thing here. I have several pens of chickens, and it is happening in all of them. I don't remember this happening last year at this time.

    I know what ya mean, I have been worried about it, too. I even dumped out every single feeder and added a new bag of feed, thinking it was the feed. But, that was not the case.

    I guess they will eat when they are hungry. [​IMG]

    Sorry, I'm not much help.
  4. fargosmom

    fargosmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2008
    Pasadena, CA
    Me three. My girls haven't had much interest in their pellets, but I know a small amount is getting eaten each day, and they're sure not suffering. As long as they're getting offered a good variety, they'll eat what they need. Just watch out that you're not offering too many "treats" since they'll eat the good stuff and ignore what might be healthier for them. But if energy levels are good, and feathers and eyes are bright, and eggs are normal (if they're laying) then all is well. As others have said, no chicken will go on a starvation diet! [​IMG]
  5. fiberart57

    fiberart57 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    You might stop feeding the BOSS and scratch during the day and save it for about an hour before bedtime so they go to bed with full crops. It takes them a bit longer to digest whole grains and BOSS so it stays with them for a bit and they don't feel hungry.

    Ideally, the main bulk of their food should be their commercial feed. This is carefully prepared with all the nutrients and protein amount necessary for optimal health. Chickens like scratch, but it falls short in terms of protein and nutritional value. It's a bit like we humans eating oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's good for us, but not the balanced diet we need.

    I throw a small amount of hulled sunflower seeds and safflower seeds for them in the morning and give them a few greens from the fridge or garden, or a flake of alfalfa for the dried leaves. But then I don't give them treats until bedtime when they get their scratch. I want them to eat their healthy food.

  6. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    In my time of keeping chickens I've never known of a healthy one to starve itself because it didn't like the food in front of it--of course I never put a diaper on a chicken either. [​IMG] I suspect they're getting enough to eat but maybe too much of the wrong stuff. As said above, I'd cut back on the scratch and BOSS until bedtime--this does to chickens what sweets do to people, fills them with empty calories that might better come from someplace else. Also I'd go a little light on the veggies--they're good but a lot of bulk, better during warmer weather. Finally, I've noticed my birds aren't eating as much lately as well and I suspect it is lack of activity---they just don't want to go out in the snow and cold.
  7. newchickmom

    newchickmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2007
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Mine did the same thing, then decided to eat.

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