What do you do if your chickens start getting picky with the food and wasting it.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cocopop, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. cocopop

    cocopop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Seramas are starting to pick out the scratch out of the chicken mix that I feed them. Do I just give them more scratch or wait it out until they will eat all the food that they left out? I am just afraid that they will not eat and get and sick or die. Any suggestions or advise?
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    First of all, it's a mistake to mix the scratch in with their feed. It's the same thing as mixing M&Ms in with your kids' cereal. Would you be so surprised if they ignored the cereal and just picked the candy out and ate it?

    Your chickens will be happy to eat their regular feed when they get hungry. Wait until later in the day, and then scatter their scratch grain on the ground, and only give them enough so they eat it all within a few minutes. It's a treat, more than a vital part of their nutrition.
     
  3. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Maybe the other food is getting stale. Ours do that sometimes They do eventually eat it all. You might try giving them a little less food, or mix some fresh in with the old. They wont get sick and die if they eat just scratch, but it is better for them to have the commercial feed too that has vitamins and such, especially in winter. I have noticed that ours really like the Purina Flock Raiser when it's fresh out of the bag, but when it is a week or so old they like it less. I also alternate between Flock Raiser and Layer, except for when it's cold as it has been these past couple of months, then I like the Flock Raiser cause it has more protein. But I think they do like the variety of different kinds of feed. We mix ours with either scratch or cracked corn, and switch back and forth between those, too. I suppose you could try taking the scratch away and just giving them the feed, but I think they will eventually eat it without resorting to that.
     
  4. cocopop

    cocopop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds good. Yeah the food could be getting stale cuz its been awhile. I notice if you give them less food they eat it all. When you give them just enough they will usually eat it all except if they are light eaters. One of my favorite roosters is a light eater and will not eat if he doesn't like it. I will try giving him a little for one day just to see if he finishes it all. I use Layena crumble also but never thought they would be picky like that. I sometimes wonder if they have taste buds or is it just visual. Well thanks for the advise. I will try changing it up and maybe they will miss it. lol
     
  5. cocopop

    cocopop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good point, I will try without scratch. I am just afraid they will not eat but I only have one rooster that leaves food behind until the next morning, but I will try 1 day without scratch and put enought where he can finish and see what happens. He might be able resist for a day but I would think after a day and a half he would eat even if there is no scratch right?
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    They're like any animal. When they're hungry, they will eat. Anything.

    Roosters aren't going to eat but half a cup of food per day, max. They eat way less than the hens.

    If you're into spoiling and pampering your chickens and think of them as pets, and you have the time, you can mix their food each day with a little warm water. It makes it a lot more appealing to them, as well as aids in their digestion. And it will cut way down on any waste. Hens will need a little more than half a cup of feed. This isn't including the scratch.

    I will occasionally throw a few raisins in as a special treat.

    I have twenty, but I treat them all as pampered pets. They are not farm livestock to me.
     
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Last meat bird group I had, my mill gave me crimped corn instead of ground corn in with the mash. The birds would pick out all the crimped corn bits and leave the rest. This is natural behavior.

    The scratch is a low-nutrition feed. It is diluting the protein levels of your layer ration. This is especially bad for your rooster, who needs more protein than the hens. It can also cause your hens to lay poorly. Scratch is a treat, only. One handful for 5-6 hens is all that should be fed a day. In fact, we don't feed scratch at all in the summer, when the hens have plenty to do. We toss scratch in the hen house in the winter to cause them to mix the bedding and have something to occupy them, since they aren't going outside. We only toss out 1/2 pound for *80* birds.
     
  8. cocopop

    cocopop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks I will cut the stratch and hope they will eat what is given to them. I am just afraid they won't eat and then get weak and sick. But I guess if they are hungry, they will eat whatever we feed them!
     
  9. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    WE mix our feed (Flock Raiser usually, sometimes Layer) with scratch or cracked corn. Not half and half, but they get more than a handful of scratch.
    Many times I've seen them eat the Flock Raiser and leave the grain. Our flock is healthy and we have several chickens over 7 years old that we've
    had from babies. Our flock also free ranges. They eat what they want, when they want. They also have a flock block they've had all winter, speaking of junk food
    for chickens. They pick at it sometimes, but they do not eat it and leave their regular food.
     

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