Skinny chickens not eating their crumbles...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mylittlezoo, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. mylittlezoo

    mylittlezoo Poppy Creek Farm

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    I bought a pair of chickens from a guy locally about 2 weeks ago. As soon as they arrived, I quarantined them, gave them a dose of Eprinex, then 10 days later, a dose of Wazine. They'll probably get the Wazine again in another 10 days.

    Thing is, they're not really eating, I feed the same stuff the guy I bought them from did, and I think they're losing weight. They're active birds though, and will happily peck at the grass in their run - though they've been inside for a few days due to the rain.

    I've started cooking them oatmeal, and adding scrambled eggs, veggies, tuna.. you know. Protein and all that. When I give them this, they gobble it up happily, whereas they barely pick at the layer feed. They're coming up to five months old.

    What could be the problem? Do they not like the food? Are they sick? (they don't seem to be!) I don't think they're wormy... I'm getting desperate.

    Am I being conned by a pair of very smart chooks who have figured that if they go on hunger strike I'll cook them oatmeal and eggs??? [​IMG]
     
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most commercially prepared chicken feed isn't very appetizing. Chickens will eat it if they're hungry and there's nothing else, but they prefer other, fresh food. A friend of mine has switched his flock to free range plus supplemental wild bird seed and cat food. They prefer this diet...but they are getting a lot of bugs and green food from free ranging. I don't know whether you can manage something like this with your set up.

    Have you got a scale? You could figure out quickly whether there is indeed a problem with your birds' diet, or whether you're just being concerned out of an abundance of caution. Of course your birds prefer the food you're cooking for them: it's fresh and tasty!

    Oh, just thought of another thing. How fresh is your feed? They say you need to use up the bag within about 3 months of the time it was milled or it begins to lose its nutritional value, to say nothing about whatever taste there was in it.
     
  3. mylittlezoo

    mylittlezoo Poppy Creek Farm

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    Quote:I can try them with some seed, I have offered oats, but they don't like them uncooked [​IMG] I can't free range yet, they're still in quarantine. When I can, they'll be able to catch all kinds of yummies in the woods.

    I do have a scale, I'll weigh them tomorrow. I am blessed with an overabundance of caution - there's worse ways to be I guess!!

    My feed is fresh, I get through about a bag a week and I always check the date. None of the others are being picky, so I doubt it's the feed..... Oh well. I don't mind coking oatmeal, it makes the house smell nice [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  4. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    They may just have gotten you trained the way they want you!

    I guess I wouldn't worry too much if they're eating something....just gradually cut back on that.....even mix what you're cooking for them with the crumble and raise the amount of crumble until it's that and not the scrambled eggs. If they're running around their run and scratching I would think they're feeling ok. Chickens are such creatures of habit change can sometimes take awhile for them to adjust to. I switched the container I was feeding one of my pens in and they acted like it was completely different food I was feeding them. After a couple of days of ignoring it and hollering whenever I went out they figured out they'd better start eating what they had in front of them!!

    Was he feeding them the layer already?...are they laying? If they're not quite 5 months unless they are early layers I'd take them off the layer food for now and get some starter/grower for them.
     
  5. mylittlezoo

    mylittlezoo Poppy Creek Farm

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    Quote:I asked him, and he said they were on "starter, layer, flock raiser, whatever".... so perhaps I better put them back on starter. They're not laying yet, no where near I don't think! I have starter as I have a bunch still on it... I'll sprinkle some on their morning eggs [​IMG]

    Thanks Katy! [​IMG]
     
  6. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Quote:I asked him, and he said they were on "starter, layer, flock raiser, whatever".... so perhaps I better put them back on starter. They're not laying yet, no where near I don't think! I have starter as I have a bunch still on it... I'll sprinkle some on their morning eggs [​IMG]

    Thanks Katy! [​IMG]

    Either start & grow or flock raiser will work for them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They may just be stressed with the move, plus the worming. Give them a chance to settle in. I'm sure they are thanking their lucky stars! They've fallen into the lap of luxury.

    I'm doing my own bit as a personal chef to one of our chickens right now. She's got fowl pox, got bullied by another hen, lost a bit of weight (which she couldn't spare, she's just a tiny bantam), and she's now sleeping indoors and getting special meals. I'm hoping to get her weight back up so that by the time her quarantine for the fowl pox is over she'll have her strength built back up to face the mean hen.
     
  8. chicksgonewild99

    chicksgonewild99 New Egg

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    I recently bought a flock of giant blue cochin and they seem to be losing weight; they have three ten pound feeders and fresh water everyday but they are just so thin. The person I bought them from was jsut feeding whole corn, I have switched them to scratch grain and laying crumbles with cracked corn mixed in. I am planning on worming them tomorrow but not sure what to use. I have the wazine 17 and the DE just not sure what to use? Anybody have any suggestion? Please help me.
     
  9. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I'd hold off worming for a bit, or at least until I was pretty certain they had worms (I'd take a sample to a vet and have it analyzed). Moving is stressful to birds and so is worming; I'd try not to stress them with worming right away unless I needed to.

    Did they seem thin when you got them, or are they losing weight since then? How old are they? It could be that they haven't adjusted yet to the difference in feed; have you seen them eating?
     
  10. dragonlair

    dragonlair Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine would much rather eat anything other than their crumbles/pellets. I wish I could free range them but too many neighbors dogs and fox.
     

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