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throwing food on the ground

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chickynparadise, Mar 5, 2015.

  1. chickynparadise

    chickynparadise Chirping

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    My girls (on a daily basis) just take their crumble and throw it all over the ground! I have a hanging feeder and everyday the food is all over the ground under the feeder. Help??? Let it go?? I keep refilling everyday but they do not seem to be eating it!
     
  2. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Songster

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    That's called billing. They do it for a few reasons like looking for the best bits or because they are inclined to scratch and forage. It's not a desired behavior around the coop bc it attracts wild birds and rodents. It also raises the feed cost to you. There are feeders that prohibit billing and feeders called treadles that stay closed unless the bird steps on a bar to open the door. To satisfy their foraging instinct in winter, scatter small amounts of treats/food into clean bedding or dry run/pen. (about as much as they can eat in 15 minutes once or twice a day). Throw a head of cabbage in sometimes.By the end of the day you'll find just a 3" piece of the very core. there are lots of different treats to give birds, some very healthy and anything they can play "keep away" with is very entertaining for them and you! Try leaving spilled food on the ground if it's a clean dry area or check to be sure the feed is good. I just had bad feed with my birds and they were subtly telling me by eating less than usual but I didn't listen until their poop gave me a clue! Feed that should have been finished in 4 weeks easy, still had about 10 days worth and they started refusing it. Now I have gut issues to fix.[​IMG]
     
  3. chickynparadise

    chickynparadise Chirping

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    Thank You for your information. I give them fresh veggies often (they love eggplant and cooked acorn squash). I also give them dried mealworms 2-3 X a week. I sprinkle scratch daily and their poop levels are good LOL. I also gives them treat blocks, they do not seem to be their favs tho. We have been very wet here lately so maybe that has something to do with it. I will get a new bag of food. Perhaps they are picking out the grit? I had also ground up eggshells (someone recommended that for additional calcium) and put it in their food. Could they be picking that out?
     
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

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    Scatter the crushed egg shells on the ground too rather than mixing it in their feed. You will then see whether they want it or not and they will scratch it up and find it when they do want it which is much more natural for them. If there are different bits of things in their feed (rather than it just being a uniform consistency) that will cause them to bill out what they don't want to get to what they do. They may even have been after the egg shells at the expense of the crumble. I scatter crushed egg shells every once in a while and they usually go for it straight away.

    I have started fermenting my feed recently. They still have free access to it dry but they go wild for it fermented. Because it is a thick gooey mixture there is no waste and I just put a big dollop in an old flying pan and put it down and they all crowd round and wolf it down until there is nothing left. I keep an old scrubbing brush next to the water butt and it gets a quick 10 sec scrub after they have finished it and it's clean for next time. Fermenting sounds complicated but it's incredibly simple. I have two lame hens in sick bay/brooder and there is hardly any smell from their poop since I started feeding them it regularly. Much pleasanter when I have to lean in and clean it out.

    Regards

    Barbara
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Songster

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    There shouldn't be any grit in their food. Grit should be given seperately.


    Get a better feeder - there are threads all over the forum on how to build waste free feeders.
     
  6. chickynparadise

    chickynparadise Chirping

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    Thank You!!
     
  7. chickynparadise

    chickynparadise Chirping

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    Dec 6, 2014
    Sumter, SC
    Thank You! Went to the feed store and they had me get pellets and a separate feeder for their grit.
     

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