won't eat their feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by old tom, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. old tom

    old tom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 18, 2012
    South Austin since 1963
    My 3 hens are about 10 weeks old. They have about a 2000 sq. ft. section of my yard to roam during the day and are closed up in the roost at night. Sometimes I don't let them out early in the morning to see if they will eat the fancy scratch and laying pellets. The turn their beaks up at them and clamor to be let out of the pen. When they do get out, they eat the crickets and other bugs in the grass. I'm concerned that this winter, when there aren't any bugs, they won't recognize the chicken feed as food.[​IMG]
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    If it has gotten old (the food in the coop) I would toss it and give them fresh. If that doesn't work they might be ill.

    Do you have any signs of diarrhea or bloody droppings? Every 8th poo normally will be a caecal poo, which is liquid, and this is normal. But if almost all or all of their poo is liquid that is not good.

    It isn't normal for them to not eat their food. It could be moldy, stale, or they might be ill. Do they sit around at all and act cold? Feathers fluffed up?

    I had one die from coccidiosis that "appeared" to be eating bugs in the grass but wouldn't eat chick starter or drink much. She was very ill as I found out later, and ended up dying soon thereafter.

    Do they feel "light as a feather?"
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  3. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Well, when they run out of better options they will eat what they have - get hungry enough and they will eat anything.

    What is your scratch made out of? corn based? Some chickens don't like pellets at first. If you add a little water and make it into a mash and maybe even mix it with something you know they like they may be more likely to try it.
     
  4. old tom

    old tom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 18, 2012
    South Austin since 1963
    Thanks. They're not sick. The one Barred Rock has been laying without the aid of the pellets and the other two should follow suit soon. They just have too many bugs to eat to mess with the pellets now.
     
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Did anyone else mention you should not be feeding layer to 10 week old chicks?

    They need to be on grower, or starter. Layer will damage their kidneys and can cause death at this age.
     
  6. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    x2. Good call. I missed that. They need to be on a grower feed until they are laying eggs.
     
  7. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Okay.. How do 10 week old pullets lay? Are you sure...?
     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Maybe 10 months?

    Anyway, I wouldn't worry about it. They'll figure out the feed is food when the free range runs down. Personally, I'd rather have a bird eat what they're designed to eat vs commercial food. If you have the space to sustain them, as it seems you do, there's no problem.

    Plus, you'd be suprised at how little feed 3 hens need.
     

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