Switched to layer feed, pullets won't eat it?


In the Brooder
Jul 31, 2021
I have 3 pullets about 20 weeks old, 2 of them just started laying 2 weeks ago and I just so happened to need to go out for feed last week anyhow so I switched to layer feed. They won't eat it barely at all. Should I try another brand? Switch back to what I was using? I have oyster shell out for if they want it, they free range all weekend and when I get home from work if it's early enough (not often enough as of late ugh) I dont give them a whole lot of table scraps, strawberry tops à few times a week is about it (my 2 kids love strawberries so I pack them in their lunches for school. I pull the leaves off and then cut the top with the stem off. That's what I give the chickens. We go thru a carton every other day but that not much for the chick-os). They had good appetites until I switched, still squaking for me to bring their food in the morning but when I do they take a couple pecks and that's it. I figured they would give in after a couple days but a full week later I was still coming home to a nearly full food bin after work I started giving them some scratch grains because I'm worried they are starving themselves - surely they wouldn't starve themselves right? Do I try a different brand of layer feed or go back to the grower feed I know they like


We will get through this... together!
Premium Feather Member
Mar 5, 2019
SE Missouri, USA
When I change feed I usually mix it until they are switched. I'll start out by mixing a quarter of the new feed with 3/4 of their old feed for about a week. The second week, they get a 50/50 mixture. The third week, it'll be 3/4 new feed to 1/4 old feed, and by the fourth week they should be eating the new diet exclusively. Not such a shock to their systems that way.


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
surely they wouldn't starve themselves right?
Not likely. Cut out all treats util they start eating the new feed.

They had good appetites until I switched, still squaking for me to bring their food in the morning but when I do they take a couple pecks and that's it.
Do they have the feed available every hour they are awake?
If not, they should.

Is the new feed a different shape, i.e. pellets vs crumbles?

Check the mill date on feed.
Always a good idea.


Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
You could try serving some of the new feed as a wet mash, because many chickens like it better that way.

Just put a small amount of the feed in a dish, add water, and let it sit until the water soaks in (add more water if needed-- it usually takes more water than feed if you want the consistency of thick oatmeal, and more water yet if you want it even wetter.)

Serving the food wet does not change anything nutritionally, so it's still fine for the chickens to eat as much or as little as they like, but they will often gobble it up even if they are ignoring their dry food.

They will probably get used to eating the new feed dry with time, but serving some wet now might help them adjust faster, and can help prevent you worrying ;)


12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
I mixed feed when I change, but I expect my flock to eat anything I put into their feeder.

I never allowed my kids to be picky eaters and I certainly won't cater to picky chickens. :D

No healthy animal will starve itself in the presence of food -- assuming it understands that what's available *is* food. A chicken should learn to recognize that anything in the feeder is food.

That said,

Many of us here at BYC feed all-flock feed with oystershell on the side instead of layer. It's higher in protein and better meets the needs of heritage-breed birds who are expected to live out a longer lifespan rather than be culled at their first molt. :)

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