Problems with Food Changes

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by danielkbrantley, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. danielkbrantley

    danielkbrantley Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2011
    Cleveland, Tennessee
    Greetings Fellow Chicken Lovers,

    I've got a problem. Just got in the chicken game a few months back. All has gone great. Well, until I put them on layer feed. All of a sudden, they're eating almost nothing each day. Granted, we toss scraps to them almost every day, and they always eat most of that, but they barely touch the food in their feeders.

    To let you know, they've not started laying yet, but they're supposed to at any time. They're pushing 4.5 months, and as they'd run out of that other feed (I can't even remember what it's called now - not the starter stuff but the inbetween), I was told it would be okay to get them going on the layer feed.

    My question is: Do I need to go grab another bag of that stuff I used to give them before the layer feed? Also (trying to think of everything I can), they're white leghorns and they spend most of the day in a 10 X 10 (or so) run. There isn't any grass left in it, so they're not filling up on grass.

    I've raised a lot of parakeets over the years, and whenever I would start using different kind of food, I had to transition them to it slowly. I didn't do that with the layer feed at all, but I was told I wouldn't have any problems. Who knows...maybe they just don't eat much at this age. And the temperature hasn't been extraordinarily hot around here. (I'm in Tennessee.)

    Any info provided would be greatly appreciated!
  2. dlynne1123

    dlynne1123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2011
    For those reading this i have a similar question.

    I have chicks on grower/finisher and mixed in layer pellets for my 20 week old layer. She's been laying nice, but small, hard eggs for weeks now and all of a sudden I've had two days in a row with soft gooey, lack of shell, eggs. What a mess! She seems healthy enough and practically spends more time hunting and digging than eating out of my feeder. Is this a fluke or is she just not getting enough of her layer pellets? I also supplement with oyster shells to be sure shes getting her calcium. Is it that shes just young and i"ve been lucky to have such good eggs all along? Shes about 24 weeks now, ish. I bought her just developing her combs and waddles. I figured if I mixed it up they'd all get what they needed when they wanted to. Maybe she doesn't like pellets? I know I can get crumbles too. What are everyones thoughts?

    Also, if they free range during the day, and get sand in their coop, do I need to supply grit?
  3. [​IMG]

    You may want to try and mix the feed 1 to 1 until the grower is gone. This will help the transition. Your approach does not have to be the same as everyone elses but try to make it work. If they are not eating the new feed mix it with the old. It does not HURT newly laying pullet to eat grower. Make sure your shade/temps are good for the summer. Give them oyster shell or ground up and dried egg shells to help them with the nutrutional needs of forming egg shells and things should go ok. Chickens aren't always good at switching feeds so give them some time. They really do need greens as well. Greens will make up 1/3 of a chickens diet if made available.
  4. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2008
    Welcome to a fellow Tennessean! Chickens can be pretty picky about having their feed switched. Did you buy layer pellets or layer crumbles? If you bought the pellets that is probably the problem however, I've had them go on a bit of a feeding strike when I have changed the type of crumble. You might back off on the treats a bit so they get hungry enough to not be so picky.

    dlynne, there is a problem giving younger chickens layer pellets to eat, the high calcium can cause some serious problems. As far as the soft shell eggs, that should have gotten better, not worse. Your hen is young and probably still in her laying curve. I've always had a few soft shells among the young hens. If you supplement her with oyster shell and give a protein in the mid range you might be able to hold off the pellets until your younger ones are laying. You can also crush eggshells and feed her these for extra calcium.

    I am sure someone else can give you better information but any change I've made in feeding them always takes a few days of adjustment for them. That is unless it is scratch or treats but even then they sometime don't touch new stuff at first.
  5. CatDaddyAlbert

    CatDaddyAlbert NoFeathersRuffled

    Apr 22, 2011
    Gumboro, Delaware
    If they are only 4.5 weeks I would go with crumbles and add about 1/3 pellets. I think at that age they might not like the big pellets.

    Good Luck
  6. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I feed my mixed age flock grower or flock raiser with oyster shells on the side. No egg problems, and I've never seen a rooster or a young chick eating oyster shell. So the feed shouldn't be the problem.

    I agree, the one no-no about feed is allowing young chicks to eat layer, and if they are rejecting a feed, simply stop any extras for a while.

    Not sure about their requiring greens, though. Supposedly these feeds are a complete diet. The trick with any extras is not to give so much that you unbalance their nutrition, like reducing their protein intake with lots of veggie scraps.
  7. tarragon

    tarragon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2011
    Bothell, WA
    Quote:I think they are 4.5 months, not weeks. I would probably try mixing the new food with some of the old to transition them.
  8. danielkbrantley

    danielkbrantley Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2011
    Cleveland, Tennessee
    Woah! You guys are fast! And tons of great info. Always good to e-meet a fellow Tennessean, and no matter where you're from, if you've got the scoop on chicken care, you're okay with me.

    The reason I didn't mix the grower with the layer feed is because I was 100% out of grower. I got the grower the day I put the last scoop of layer in their feed container. So I didn't have any to mix in. I'm considering going and buying a small amount of grower to mix in with the layer feed to get 'em used to it.

    Or should I just let them tough it out until they start eating the layer feed?

    Thanks again...
  9. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Or should I just let them tough it out until they start eating the layer feed?

    They will eat it when they get hungry.

    If they are free ranging at all plus getting treats, they are evidently getting all they want​
  10. danielkbrantley

    danielkbrantley Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2011
    Cleveland, Tennessee
    Quote:They will eat it when they get hungry.

    If they are free ranging at all plus getting treats, they are evidently getting all they want

    Sounds good to me!

    Thanks so much for the answer. I'm feeling a lot o' relief right now. All the best, and I'll be back!

    To show my gratitude, here's a link to a blog I wrote about my chicken adventures. Enjoy...

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