turning up beaks at their food

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by gadus, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. gadus

    gadus Chirping

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    My flock of 17 grown hens has for over the past month shown a marked lack of interest in the Blue Seal extra layer feed I've been fermenting and giving them for the last half year or so. I thought it could be that I'd started to let them free-range again most of the day. Additionally, I thought maybe it could be a bag of old feed I'd purchased (if I recall, I bought pellets and I think the crumble is more popular and perhaps more reliably fresher as a result (of demand)). I tried the dry version with no appreciable difference.

    Last week, I bought a new bag of crumble and there still doesn't seem to be much difference in appetite. A new development is that they now seem to prefer the grower feed I've been giving my six young hens, who now mingle with the older birds and consequently share pens when I let them all loose simultaneously to free-range.

    I continue to give them all my kitchen scraps, plenty of grit and calcium and I'm sure they've gotten lots of protein from my garden which was largely finished by the time I opened the beds to let them have some fun.

    However, I notice they seem quite hungry when I approach with a container of food but respond with what seems like total indifference.

    As far as egg-laying goes, they are now approaching their one year mark but already there is marked decline in production. During the last year these hens, some of which are star hybrids, have given me as many as 15 eggs/day (and averaging about a dozen) but more recently have been averaging 10, with the 5 I got the day before yesterday being the lowest level yet. Really, the last week has been an erratic one, production-wise, from the 5 I mention all the way to 13 or so but generally on the low side.

    There have been a few eggs showing up in their droppings shelf in the morning, some complete but with weak shells and others just a liquid mess.

    I do artificially light their coop for 14 hours/day.

    What can I do to a) find out if they are getting the nutrients they need and b) how to remedy the situation if they are indeed not getting what they need?

    Thanks.
     
  2. I feed all my Birds Grower...I have oyster shell out in a separate bowl..Certain Breeds, especially Hybrids need a higher protein content no less than 18%...
    Best of luck.
     
    igorsMistress likes this.
  3. gadus

    gadus Chirping

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    Thanks for that. Interestingly enough, I had been feeding them gamebird feed which was 18% during the winter months, per the advice of my local feeds guy. I forget when I discontinued (May?) the game feed and switched back to regular 16% but the decline in production began much after the switch. I keep oyster shell in a separate dish as well; the shells I should add, seem mighty thin.
     
  4. getaclue

    getaclue Crossing the Road

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    Age?
     
  5. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Crossing the Road Premium Member

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    Even with adding light they do need to molt. Molting hens do not lay during molt.

    Having said that.... They see you coming with a feed bucket and perhaps get all excited for treats.
    You may need to decrease or eliminate the treats.
     
  6. gadus

    gadus Chirping

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    Jul 28, 2015
    Maine
    1.5 yrs old
     
  7. getaclue

    getaclue Crossing the Road

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    Check for signs of them molting. They don't usually lay well when molting. They're not vending machines, and are not supposed to lay 365 days a year. You might want to stop fermenting, and switch to another brand of feed. Check the dates on your Blue Seal feed. With them showing more interest in grower feed, give it to them, and free choice calcium. I've had hens that went into molt, were laying thin eggs, and did great when I boosted their protein. You can put them back on layer feed after they finish with their molt. Have you checked them for mites/worms?
     
    Kathy Golla likes this.
  8. tigger19687

    tigger19687 Songster

    I just had an issue with Blue Seal feeds that my birds turned up their nose too as well.
    I tried dry, then back to ferment.

    I wonder if something has changed? I am feeding Organic though.

    I added in some ground up Cat food that, funny enough, my cats turned up their noses too. Hens thought it was good enough and started to eat the feed more. Plus i kept them penned in.

    Did your Hens get thinner? Mine are newish to laying so I am thinking lack of food and laying the same made then thinner and got me scared.
    Tomorrow I am doing a poop sample.
     
    getaclue likes this.
  9. Titan Farm

    Titan Farm Chirping

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    Oct 5, 2017
    I would stop fermenting there feed and cut the treats out.
    The fermentation of there feed can be making there feed imbalanced and the the treats will through there nutritional intake off also.
     
    Kathy Golla and chickens really like this.
  10. Too much hype on fermented feed that actually can cause crop issues in Ducks and Chickens also Mould growth..A risk I would never take...
     

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