Question regarding feed wastage

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Merax, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. Merax

    Merax In the Brooder

    Hi All,

    Just as a bit of background, my chickens free range most of every day. I have an acre, and they always seem to have full crops when we put them back in the coop in the afternoon. They also get kitchen scraps (or at least what is chicken appropriate) each afternoon when they go back. So, plenty of food, but they also have a feeder full of layer mix available at all times.

    The issue? When the feeder is full they know, and the little buggers deliberately shovel perfectly good layer mix out onto the floor of the run to get at their favorite tidbits (usually sunflower seeds). They will happily peck at the other stuff (sometimes off the floor where they have just deposited it) but each week I am clearing out a fair amount of perfectly good food that they have just thrown away to get at the bits they like best. I've tried different brands and mixes, but pretty much the same thing happens.

    So my question is, should I limit their feed or perhaps feed them in another way? Obviously they are feeding first thing in the morning and last thing before bed - the rest of the time they are out in the yard doing chicken things and getting their food there.

    Also this is funny but if I take a handful of layer mix out to where they are foraging during the day and scatter it where they are, they will generally eat up most of it.

  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Free Ranging

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    What you may be doing inappropriately is mixing layer feed with scratch/bird seed treats. Obviously the treats taste better so the chickens will bill out the tasteless parts. Here are some suggestions. Get or make a $3 5 gallon feeder.
    Here is a link. no more waste
    Keep that bucket filled with only your layer feed.
    Give the chickens their treats in a separate open container. They will wolf it down kwik, and move on..
    It is suggested to limit the treats to 10% of their feed. That is to produce the maximum number of eggs. I do not necessarily follow these suggestions personally, but I'm also not in the EGG BUSINESS. My chickens are pets.
  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Mixing anything more tempting into the standard ration encourages exactly the behavior you are seeing -- to avoid this feed the tempting tidbits as treats and keep only the ration in the feeder. Alternatively, a no-waste feeder may help -it won't stop them being picky, but it will prevent them billing the feed out to do so.
  4. Merax

    Merax In the Brooder

    Sorry I must have not explained well enough. Treats go in a tray in the corner of the cage, layer feed goes in a bucket feeder like the one in your pic. They get their beaks in the holes in the feeder and shovel seed out. Treats would (considering their free range diet outside the coop / run, account for about 2% of their diet.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    So your main 'feed' is a grain and seed mix...not just a pellet or crumble or mash??

    I would suggest a different feed(pellet or crumble or mash) or a different feeder.
    You could also limit the amount you put out each day, that will force them to eat what they at first 'discard'.

    Scroll to bottom of this article
    This would work for any feed.


    1 person likes this.

  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I feel I'm missing something here.

    You're calling the feed layer, but it's got sunflower seeds in it? What exactly are you feeding?
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I'm guessing it's mill mix of grains and is labeled 'layer' feed.
  8. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Free Ranging

    Jun 23, 2013
    The Big Island/Hawaii
    Think we're a bit confused as to the make up of your "layer" feed, could we get a picture of the label? Where are you located? Is the feed commercial feed, or from mill feed?

    Layer feed that we know of is crumbles or pellets like in aart's picture in which case I do fermented feeding which prevents alot of feed waste. I probably could be done with your "type" of feed too. Chickens free ranging get alot of bugs & stuff but I prefer to make sure they have a "balanced" diet = commercial feed, we don't have any mills here.

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