Switching feed with picky eaters

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by CB Poulet, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. CB Poulet

    CB Poulet New Egg

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    Nov 27, 2012
    Berkeley, CA
    Help! I've had my four young laying hens about 3 months, and just switched from regular laying crumbles to organic crumbles -- same size, different company and product. Unfortunately, they won't touch the stuff. I know I should blend the old with the new feed, but I am completely out of the old. Will they just get hungry enough to finally eat the new after a while? Should I force them, by not giving them anything else, like their usual access to yard food and greens (which they love)? They are laying very well, BTW. How long should I give them to make the switch? Thanks for advice!
     
  2. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    If you give them no additional choices, they might get on with eating the new ration. I tried an organic crumble from one company my chickens refused to eat, or would eat very little. I changed them over to an organic mini-pellet and they eat most all of it. Modesto Milling was what they didn't like. Bar Ale's Organic High Energy Layer, they did like. Since you're in Berkeley, you might ask you local supplier if they carry King Feeds organic rations, or Bar Ale. Also if you have them ranging, they will have less interest in the feed. I feed mine in the morning and range them in the afternoon or when I'm home in the middle of the day.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  3. CB Poulet

    CB Poulet New Egg

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    Nov 27, 2012
    Berkeley, CA
    Thanks, Michael. How long did you wait before you gave up on the one feed and went to another?
     
  4. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    When I got down to the last few feedings of the ration they didn't like, I began adding the new feed. Chickens can get spoiled. If you toss them too much scratch, or other treats, they'll hold out on the other feed because they know they'll get the candy. I give scratch sparingly and toward the end of the day during winter. The carbohydrates help them keep warm on colder nights. During the warmer months I give them a bit when I call them back to the yard from range earlier in the day.
     
  5. Tigertrea

    Tigertrea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 10, 2012
    LaSalle Ontario Canada
    I switched foods with my girls a little while ago. They refused the new food. They spread it around their coop trying to get to their old food for 2 days before I ran out of the old stuff. They then had no choice but to eat the new stuff. They got no treats, no scraps and no scratch for a few days. The first day I don't think they ate a single thing! The next they picked at it a bit. It took about a week before I needed to fill their feeder, usually it is every 2-3 days. But they ate it eventually.

    They were the same when I started adding supplement to their layer feed. At first I offered it in a different feeder but, they ignored it totally. So I decided to mix it with their feed. The first few days they spent a lot of time billing food out of their feeder. I kept filling it with a mix of feed and supplement and now they eat it no problem. I think I went for about 4-5 days of them piking through it before they decided it wasn't so bad.
     
  6. CB Poulet

    CB Poulet New Egg

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    Nov 27, 2012
    Berkeley, CA
    Thanks, all. Followed the advice of no-choice-but-to-eat-it or go hungry, and after about 36 hours, they decided this gourmet chow was far better than nothing, after all. 36 hours of loud complaints every time I went near them, of course...
     
  7. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Hah! They were talkin' smack at you. They'll learn to appreciate good feed. What did you decide on as a brand?
     

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