Winter and feeding my chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by debimangi, Dec 18, 2017.

  1. debimangi

    debimangi Hatching

    Dec 18, 2017
    I am new to having chickens. I have 4 that I got this past summer (2017) and they have done well and are laying great. In winter they are laying 2 a day instead of 4 a day, which is fine. My problem is now that we are into winter (Mass) my hens aren't eating well. They are refusing their layer pellets (I have not changed the brand). I also got them 5 scratch grain which they hardly will touch (They liked it at first but now don't bother). I have been working hard to keep their water unfrozen as I thought this might be the problem. I throw out oyster shells or grind up their baked shells. They love oatmeal or cooked rice or cooked split peas. When I give them this right before they go to bed, they gobble it up. At times I have given during the day as they are not eating the pellets. But the food freezes so fast that I have to bring in the uneaten and let it thaw then take back out again.
    I'm worried they aren't getting enough of what they need... the pellets. I also mixed pellets into the oats when I cooked it, etc and then it got eaten...
  2. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Songster

    Jul 18, 2013
    Kalispell MT
    They may like the treats you provide so much that they hold out for the goodies. You might cut out all the extras for several days and only offer pellets. The treats you are giving including the scratch, oatmeal, rice and peas should make up no more than 10% of the food they eat. So the treats should only be offered in very small quantities for just 4 chickens.
    ChickenCanoe and nminusyplusm like this.
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    My advice is to cut out everything but the chicken feed. They may be mad at you at first but they won't starve themselves to death. When they realize that's all they're getting, they'll eat.
    Winter, when nothing is growing to supplement their intake, is precisely the time when you want them to be getting all the vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids they need in the precise ratios that are in chicken feed.
    Folly's place and wamtazlady like this.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    That could be it....if they don't have water they may not the eat dry feed.

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