We switched our chickens feed and now we're having problems...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 5LadyHens, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. 5LadyHens

    5LadyHens Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2011
    Stinson Beach, CA
    [​IMG]

    Our family is new at raising chickens. That being said, when we got our 5 hens several months
    ago at 7 weeks old we were given some feed specially made for chicks. After a month or so
    we brought home a bag of grains that included corn kernels. They seem to love it. We filled
    their food dispenser with it and all was good. When my husband went back to get more
    feed for them he met another sales person who sold him a bag of pellets. He said
    to mix the grains which he called "scratch" and ground oyster shells in with the pellets.
    Mind you, they had been on a steady diet of this scratch for over a month. It seems
    that scratch is viewed more like a "treat" instead of regular chicken food.

    Within 24 hours it was obvious that the girls did not like these pellets. They were
    digging through the feed, probably to get to the scratch, and pellets covered the bottom of
    their coop. Instead of the feed lasting a good 5-7 days in the dispenser, it was empty
    by the 2nd day. [​IMG] I can't recycle the pellets on the coop floor because they are
    mixed in with their droppings. In all goes into the compost pile.

    My questions are:
    1. Over time will our hens grow to like and eat this pellet food?
    2. Do we need to invest in another feed dispenser that has a wire mesh guard so they
    are unable to scratch out the pellets onto the floor?

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Lisa
     
  2. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 31, 2008
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    What you need to do is wean your girls from their candy and make them eat good healthy food. This will be about as easy as doing the same thing to children.
    I would just remove all scratch from their vicinity and force them to eat the pellets when they are hungry. Don't worry. No chicken will starve itself out of spite to you. They will eat the pellets if there is nothing else. Keep the scratch for their birthday treat or for extra energy during winter.
    And yes, I am a mean mother. It's my job.
     
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    If you purchased layer pellets then there is no need to use oyster shells, it already has the added calcium. If a grower pellet then yes, you'll need the oyster shells when they are near 20 weeks old.

    Agree with above poster on cold turkey of scratch and only feed the pellets in food dish.
     
  4. 5LadyHens

    5LadyHens Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2011
    Stinson Beach, CA
    they'reHISchickens :

    What you need to do is wean your girls from their candy and make them eat good healthy food. This will be about as easy as doing the same thing to children.
    I would just remove all scratch from their vicinity and force them to eat the pellets when they are hungry. Don't worry. No chicken will starve itself out of spite to you. They will eat the pellets if there is nothing else. Keep the scratch for their birthday treat or for extra energy during winter.
    And yes, I am a mean mother. It's my job.

    Hi they'reHISchickens! Love your username! [​IMG]
    You make total sense! Of course...remove the source of the problem...the scratch! [​IMG]
    It's good to know that they don't need scratch in their daily diet. They girls have free
    range of the grassland/garden/compost pile so it's not like they are restricted to just
    a pellet diet.
    Thanks for your great suggestion!​
     
  5. 5LadyHens

    5LadyHens Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2011
    Stinson Beach, CA
    Quote:Hi Egghead_Jr! I just looked on the bag of Purina pellets and it does say that
    calcium has been added. So no more added oyster shells for these girls either! [​IMG]

    I am curious about your comment of "feed the pellets in a food dish".
    I'm thinking they'll have an even better opportunity to fling the pellets
    helter-skelter with a wide open container like that. No?
     
  6. Patricia Jane

    Patricia Jane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 28, 2010
    Petaluma CA
    I agree with all of the above. Best bet, stop feeding them scratch. It's candy to them. They can gain unwanted fat and can cause a hard time with laying. Give only occasionally as a special treat. Glad to see we have another BYCer around my area. I'm in Sonoma CA. but was born and raised in Marin. Have fun with your chickens. They are highly addicting. I started out with 4 and now have 10. I haven't even had them a year yet. Had to extend my coop and run. But loving it. [​IMG] have fun and enjoy.
     
  7. 5LadyHens

    5LadyHens Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2011
    Stinson Beach, CA
    Quote:Hello Patricia Jane! We are neighbors! And yes, chickens are very addictive! They started out being our sons' project but
    I quickly bonded with them...and yes, much to our boys dismay I started giving them names. [​IMG] I'm still shocked that a sales
    person gave my husband such bad advice when he sold him a big bag of scratch for the next food to eat after they outgrew
    their baby chick food. Fortunately is was only one bagful before we got them onto pellets.
    Have a nice Sunday in beautiful Sonoma! [​IMG]
     
  8. gavinandallison

    gavinandallison Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 25, 2010
    Matthews, NC.
    I use Layena Layer food, but still put out a feed container of oyster shell, so they can eat it at will. I have great shells on my eggs!!!

    If you have pellets you can always crush it down for them! Scratch or cracked corn is a treat, and a "hot" food especially good in winter months to help them keep body heat. I use left over greens, salad stuff, veggies etc as a daily extra food source.
     
  9. calgal98

    calgal98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Regardless of what the pellets say, I would supplement all chickens with the grit and oyster shell. Good hard shells are a wonderful thing and mine consume the oyster along with the pelleted feed.
     
  10. 5LadyHens

    5LadyHens Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 11, 2011
    Stinson Beach, CA
    Quote:Quote:Hard shells are something special...I agree. [​IMG] Iwill go ahead and still include the ground oyster shells for the girls.
    Thanks for posting gavinanddallison & calgal98! [​IMG]
     

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