Why do my chickens prefer to empty the feeder?

SandyRiverChick

Crowing
12 Years
Jun 7, 2009
502
531
301
Brightwood, OR
My Coop
My Coop
Hi Chicken Cyber World (I'm so new I should have a price tag on me) ! Here is my first question on chickens (positively more to come).

I have 6 RIR's... 10 and 14 weeks.... I made this frisbee feeder that I was quite proud of (got the idea off this site of course)
I put it up on bricks, chicken back level as instructed. It works well and they seemed to dig it.... THEN they started this new process with it. As soon as I fill it completely with feed, they empty it completely! They stick thier goofy little heads in the tray and flig all the feed out, onto the droppings pit of my coop, where, it then mingles with droppings! What did/am I doing wrong? They seem to loose interest in the feed after they spread it around the floor so it's a total waste.... aarrrghhhh.... They're lucky I love them
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chseeads

Songster
10 Years
May 28, 2009
1,125
6
151
Bloomington, Indiana
That's just the nature of the beast sometimes.

They just don't know when to quit. lol

They may just be looking to see if there is anything especially good in there and they have to dig through it all to see. They're just weird like that.
 

granmahen

Songster
11 Years
Jun 11, 2008
380
5
131
Bakersfield, CA
Maybe you need a tray with a higher rim. It happened with my hens until I added a tray with a 2 in. rim. Hope you can solve your problem. Where I live, if feed ends up on floor, ants run off with it.
 

Enchanted Sunrise Farms

Crowing
12 Years
Apr 26, 2007
4,255
60
274
Fair Oaks, California
You can buy feeders with plastic ridges in the trough area that makes if hard for them to bill or kick out the feed. i had to do that with my big girls, as they were doing the same thing as yours. i do think it's boredom . . . just digging to try to find something different.

Love your feeder by the way. Very good idea.

Oh, and
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SandyRiverChick

Crowing
12 Years
Jun 7, 2009
502
531
301
Brightwood, OR
My Coop
My Coop
Thanks so much for the advice. I think you're right about digging for other things because this all started when I was adding whole oats to the grower feed - per this chicken book I read...(I should have mentioned this before). I dont think they were digging (no pun intended - lol) the oats too much so I stopped.... I'll for sure try a deeper bottom of the feeder. Thanks again!
 

dsedler

Chirping
10 Years
Mar 27, 2009
36
0
75
Cincinnati, OH
Mine do the same thing. They are only 2 weeks old. I had a quart jar chick feeder for them and set it into a small pan to catch the stuff they would scratch out. What they did was scratch it all out of the feeder into the pan, then use their legs and scratch it out of the pan. They did this everytime I filled the feeder. Just the other day they started knocking over the jar, so I switched them over to the big girl feeder and they don't scratch it out as much.
 

SandyRiverChick

Crowing
12 Years
Jun 7, 2009
502
531
301
Brightwood, OR
My Coop
My Coop
Now I'm confused over feed.... I read that if I am providing "all you can eat, all day long" then I should mix the grower feed with oats, 50/50 to make sure that they dont grow to fast, lay to soon, etc. So I did that but decided they dont like the oats, thus the digging all feed from the feeder... Well last night I tossed some of the oats (whole oats) around the kennel (coop and run are inside a really large chain link area, inside my fenced 1 acre). For whatever reason - seattle rain or I havent had them long enough, or large space for only 6 of them, they havnet killed the grass. I like this so I thought tossing the oats is a good way to keep grass sprouting in there. Well they ate the oats, not the grower feed. So they dont like grower feed if given a choice? I really wish I hadnt mixed the 2.....
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
608
448
South Georgia
I am seeing two things at work here, I think. First, they are billing out the feed to get to the oats. You are right, it would have been better not to mix them. Also, grower feed is all they need at this stage, until they start laying. Mixing it with oats is decreasing the protein and other nutrients they need. Oats, like scratch, are a treat. It's like mixing a child's food half and half with candy, then wondering why the child eats the candy and leaves the veggies. So I am saying you got some bad advice.

Another thing is that, judging from the picture, the depth of the area where they eat from looks too small. They may be billing the food out because their head does not fit comfortably over the lip of the feeder.

People do offer treats, like oats, along with almost anything that is healthy for people. But treats should only be a small portion of their diet, maybe 10% at most, or the amount they can eat in about 15 minutes.

I believe I'd buy another bag of grower and offer the mixture of grower and oats as a treat, once or twice a day, separately. Maybe you will get lucky and they will eat the feed mixed in with the oats. Mine are more likely to do so if I toss it on a dry place on the ground. More fun to peck and scratch, I guess. It might also be wise to withhold any treat for a few days, til they begin eating the grower well.
 

SandyRiverChick

Crowing
12 Years
Jun 7, 2009
502
531
301
Brightwood, OR
My Coop
My Coop
I'm getting so addicted to this site! Thank you so much! So far so good with "chickening" but I owe much of that to this site, and obviously NOT to books on amazon. Not that there arent good ones, but this information is real time, way better. Thanks again! I'm definitely putting the oats away for a while!
 

granmahen

Songster
11 Years
Jun 11, 2008
380
5
131
Bakersfield, CA
Quote:
I put treats in a different dish altogether from my feeder tray. They know feed only in the one so they get down to business when I feed them. And they'll come scurrying when I've got the treat dish out.
 

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