Will they starve themselves?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by SoManyHats, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. SoManyHats

    SoManyHats Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So in the past couple weeks, my chickens are eating less and less of their commercial food. They will eat any treats I bring them, but not the other stuff. I wouldn't be worried except I've checked their crops at bed time and they don't seem full. Will they actually starve themselves with food available?
     
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  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Nope. They're waiting for the treats. I'd stop them entirely til they start eating the feed well. It's easy to mess up their overall nutritinal balance with treats, too.
     
  3. SoManyHats

    SoManyHats Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I say treats, I mean the fruit and vegetable scraps I bring to the compost bin, warm oatmeal in the morning, and occasionally roaches that we breed for our tarantulas. I will withhold all that I guess until they start eating again.
     
  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Those are treats that are very high in nutrition.

    Their crops might not feel full simply because the food (the roaches in particular) are so full of both protein and roughage that they simply do not need a very full crop to actually be full.
     
  5. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree, those "treats" actually sound like pretty decent feeds--more like feed supplements. Many people have kept chickens on far poorer quality rations--feeding is often a far less exact science than we are led to believe.

    And no, you needn't worry, they definitely won't starve if there is good feed available. Deficiency of some nutrient or other is a potential, although I wouldn't be too concerned--if they need something they aren't getting from the "treats" they can seek it in the commercial feed, and if the diet is in fact inadequate in some way, you'll most likely see a drop in egg production soon and you can readjust. Though the opposite could also be true, and you might even actually find that they are doing better on that diet than with just commercial feed, who knows... :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  6. SoManyHats

    SoManyHats Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, good! So maybe I won't change anything. They do well foraging and haven't eaten as much of the commercial feed as I thought they would even since the beginning - six girls (just reaching laying age) have eaten about 30lb in 6 weeks. It's organic, soy-free feed from Countryside Organics, so maybe they just assimilate it well. The three that are laying consistently give me about 15 eggs a week, so I'll watch for a drop.
     
  7. JanetS

    JanetS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What we do a few times a week, is take some of their feed and put it in separate bowl. Then add a small amount of water.
    [​IMG]My chickens love this!! They think they're getting the best treat but its just their regular food.
     
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  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    If they're laying well, active, foraging, healthy looking, glossy feathers, they're fine. Sounds like they get a better diet than most birds, and I personally don't buy the "they have to eat all commercial feed" line. You're demonstrating that's not necessarily true!
     
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  9. SoManyHats

    SoManyHats Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are all of those things, even though they still aren't eating much commercial food! I let them out of their fenced yard this evening, and they found a nice soft patch of dirt in my garden and started digging like crazy - eating bugs and worms galore, making all kinds of happy noises! It was so fun to watch.
    :lol:
     

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