They don't like their feed. Have we spoiled them?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Blackout, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Blackout

    Blackout Hatching

    Jul 21, 2013
    Again, this may be covered but I didn't find quite what I was lookin for with a quick search and I didn't want to hijack someone else's thread with my own questions. Please merge this elsewhere if need be.

    Ok, so here's what I'm wondering. Have we spoiled the birds with the fruits and vegetables? We recently went from layer crumble to layer pellets. Also a different brand only because the feed mill was closed. We typically feed Nutrena but got the Dumor pellets from TSC and began adding some cracked corn as well.

    Problem is they stopped coming when we call now and have zero interest in the pellets and even less interest in the cracked corn. Used to be as soon as one of us hollered "here chick" they'd come runnin from where they were. Now they don't even glance in our direction and they're beginning to range farther for food.

    I'm considering goin back to crumble but mixing game bird feed and scratch grains, adding some fat maybe and something more interesting, I don't really know what else to try here.

    Thank you in advance!
  2. Whittni

    Whittni Crowing

    Mar 26, 2011
    Southern Utah
    If you feed too many treats, your chickens will stop eating their feed. Stop feeding them treats and they'll have no choice but to eat their feed, however, you can mix somthing into their feed so its not too bland for them, like you said.
  3. spgj1

    spgj1 In the Brooder

    Mar 25, 2013
    Vancouver WA
    I occasionally throw the feed on the ground so they can "scratch" for it which is their natural instinct. Mine are only 4 months old so they still have a "free feeder" in the coop. I also hand feed, as "treats" any fruits and veggies just to make sure they eat their feed.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Personally, I wouldn't worry about it. In fact, I'd be thrilled to have a lower feed bill! Lots of folks want their birds to range and not have to feed as much. If your birds are healthy, active and laying well, you're doing something right. I'd far rather have my birds eating fruits and veggies and free range than milled feed, not just from a monetary standpoint but also because I think it is healthier for the birds.
  5. Cknldy

    Cknldy Songster

    Nov 6, 2012
    Appalachian mtns
    I recently had a 'wise' (elderly:)) man buy some chicks from me. When he visited a few days later he said the chicks he took home devoured the feed like they were starving! Same feed as I use but different method of feeding- he said he ONLY gives wet feed, never dry. So although my growing chicks always have free choice feed available the wise man taught me something wonderful. Yes, chicks may tend to eat more like this but they also drink less water, no mess from spilled feed and poops look healthier. You can try simply adding water to the pellets and giving it a stir. Btw- had a cockeral that Never had a solid poo no matter what I gave him. No other signs of illness just duck poo! Started giving wet feed and he straightened up.
  6. joan1708

    joan1708 Songster

    May 14, 2011
    DFW - mid cities, Tx
    My chickens won't eat pellets either, they will eat crumbles. I'm going to try wetting it also. Thanks for the tip!
  7. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Songster

    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    Chickens don't like change and it took mine a while to adjust from crumble to pellets. However, I think maybe your chickens are enjoying summer's bounty of greens and bugs and aren't as interested in feed right now. My girls were full-to-the-gills when the cicada's were here and I saw a reduction in their feed intake during that time. Once the cicada's were gone, their feed intake went back to normal.

    I keep dry feed in feeders 24/7 and also give them fermented feed, which they love. As long as none are losing weight and you're seeing evidence of food intake via a big mess o' poo under the roosting board in the morning, I wouldn't be too concerned about it.
  8. I have similar questions also. I had tried, a few weeks ago, to switch to the nutrena all flock pellets. The birds hated it! I tried breaking them up and hand feeding them some and all they did was take it and spit it on the floor, little buggers!!! Went back to starter/grower crumbles. Since then, we had an outbreak of cocci and they are finally out in their run, and two days off the corid meds. I had even tried to grind the pellets and blew up my blender doing it. They DID eat the ground up pellets, so I thought maybe they were just not ready for the pellets yet.

    Now, I am worried, that if I try to switch them, they will not eat enough, if at all, and I have no way to grind it, nor do I want to grind a whole 50 lb bag. I know chickens don't like change, but they would not eat the pellets, even when they were hungry. I don't want to end up with another bout of cocci, due to stress and them not eating, but am getting about halfway through this bag of crumbles, and have that whole bag of the pellets. Any suggestions? Oh, I have no container for wetting their feed in large quantities and they are still young, about 2 months, and free feed!

    Thanks for any and all suggestions!!!
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Why are you determined to change them to the pellets? Why not just leave them on the grower?

    If it's a big deal to you, just change them and let them deal with it. I honestly don't think an animal will starve if there's feed available. But, you seem concerned enough to not want to do that. So just leave them on the crumbles. My feed is all crumbles, an all-in-one, and that's what everyone gets. If you want to get some $ back from the pellets, list it on craigslist or similar. Or see if your local shelter has chickens and needs a bag of feed.
  10. Blackout

    Blackout Hatching

    Jul 21, 2013
    Thank you for so many responses and advice!

    What is this fermented feed you speak of?

    I really am happy they range on their own but they're beginning to leave our property in favor of foraging on the neighbors properties. One of the neighbors had actually been putting scraps out for them. Turns out they really like stale Cheerios but who doesn't? Anyhow, this is why it was nice when they came runnin when we called so I do really want to get back to that point.

    If its cool for them to stay on the crumble we'll happily go back to that and try a couple other things as well, like this wet food idea.

    Thanks again!

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