TReadle Feeder and new chooks

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Terri Flaxman, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Terri Flaxman

    Terri Flaxman Hatching

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    Dec 29, 2017
    We have 2 chickens who are semi retired. They have been using treadle feeder for years. We just bought 2 new 18 week olds to help with eggs. We have propped open the feeder to show them where the feed is. Haven’t seen them go to it yet. It’s been 5 days. Have put some pellets down which they eat but don’t appear to be starving. But we gave them some bread today that they pecked until they lifted it off the ground and they were scared. They don’t go near the feeder. Worried how to train them.
     
  2. Farmgirl1878

    Farmgirl1878 Songster

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    While the feeder is still in “training mode” or propped open, put a little bit of their favorite treats in the center of the line of feed (so they can’t just grab it while standing off to the side). My chooks eat from the Grandpa’s Feeders treadle feeder from the time they move out into the coop. They’ll figure it out, especially since your two retirees are there to show them!

    Are you watching at all while they feed? Are you able to spend some time out there with them during the morning or late afternoon when they would normally start to tank up?
     
  3. Terri Flaxman

    Terri Flaxman Hatching

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    Dec 29, 2017
    Yes we spend lots of time outside and watch especially in the mornings when the older ones tend to eat. The newbies are sticking to one area of their yard staying away from the older ones who are picking on them. (Not badly just chasing them and the odd peck). I guess they would be showing signs of lethargic if they hadn't eaten anything.
     
  4. Al Gerhart

    Al Gerhart Songster

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    The problem with blocking a feeder open or using one of the guillotine that has training bolts is that by blocking or restricting the movement of the lid you are teaching the new birds that the lid is not supposed to move when they step on the treadle.

    After selling thousands of these feeders we know that a person is better off leaving the treadle feeder working as normal and eliminating ALL other feed for the birds. No treats, no free range, no old feed spilled under the litter to scratch up. Once a bird gets hungry they are not timid, they will use a feeder if you practice some tough love and just go cold turkey.

    There are some caveats other than only one source of feed:

    Make sure the feeder is fastened down and rock solid. Any movement other than the treadle going down and the birds will not want to use the feeder.

    Make sure the treadle bottoms out when the feeder door is all the way open. Use a slat of wood or put some patio blocks under the treadle.

    For short term training block off the sides of the feeder with something like a concrete block or heavy box to force the bird to come in from the front of the feeder instead of trying to reach around from the side while another bird is eating.

    Don't baby them during training. Once they come off the roost in the morning and only have the feeder for a food source, wait two to four hours before attempting to train the birds. Spend about a minute tripping the treadle with your toe so they see the feed, maybe toss some treats into the lower feed bin. If a bird steps up on the treadle let them get five or six bites of food and gently push it away to see if it comes back. If you don't have any takers, go do something else for an hour or two. Repeat the process, rarely do you have to let a flock go to bed hungry IF the feeder is properly assembled, properly installed, and the flock is trained in this manner. Do not try sitting a bird on the treadle. They will use the feeder when they get hungry enough.

    I had one customer that I spent a week with working with him. A very intelligent man, a doctor, ,an inventor, ran a medical research company too in his spare time. He did some of the no no's that some people do when they don't read or worse, won't follow the instructions that come with the feeder. Had the feeder hung high on a wall, nearly impossible for a chicken to balance and try to eat if the treadle doesn't bottom out on something. He blocked the feeder open on day one, then of course the second he removed the blocking the birds refused to use the feeder. Finally after a week of daily emails he finally had success and admitted that he hadn't fix the problems that I had pointed out and was still blocking the feeder open. I asked him why he refused to accept the advice or follow the instructions and he said "It just didn't sound logical to me."

    And that is the final thing to remember. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to use logic on a chicken or reason with it. Don't try to "acclimate it". Use hunger, it is a powerful motivator.
     
  5. Terri Flaxman

    Terri Flaxman Hatching

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    thank you so much for this info. It makes sense. I got 1st egg today which was unexpected so they must br getting something to eat. I will try your suggestions tomorrow.
     
  6. Terri Flaxman

    Terri Flaxman Hatching

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    thank you so much for this info. It makes sense. I got 1st egg today which was unexpected so they must br getting something to eat. I will try your suggestions tomorrow.
     

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