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Yellowjedi

They won't eat their pellets!

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Help!

 

My two girls hardly touch their pellets, even if I keep them in the run. They seem far happier foraging around the garden for worms and bugs, but have developed an unhealthy addiction to wild bird seed. It's got so bad that when I take the bird seed box out to fill up the feeder, they appear from nowhere at my feet with THAT look on their faces.

 

I doubt that wild bird mix has the right mix of nutrients for chickens, and I'm getting the odd softie egg from my Bluebell, although as she's still on her first month of laying I'm putting it down to practice makes perfect at this point.

 

What is worrying me though is that when I picked up the Columbine yesterday (not something that she allows often!) she did feel pretty boney. Neither of them seem unhealthy in themselves (and Cheech finally produced her first egg on Friday - pale blue/green :D ) but still I'm a bit worried.

 

They are eating, it's just they seem to be eating the wrong stuff.

 

Should I be worried, or am I just having a newbie panic? Any suggestions on how to get them to eat some "proper" food for a change? Sorry for rambling!

 

Thanks!

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first you'll to get tough with them no bird seed no matter what dirty low rotton trick they use to tug at your heart strings and they will try everything in the book.next you need to weight out 100 grams per bird into a jug,jar or empty meal worm/bird seed tub (so that you know roughly how much that is so that you can use that as a scoop for a few days to save weighting every time) then just put that plus a bit more in the feeder that then will give you an idea as to how much they are eating. I used this method when I had my first girls and they were a bit wastefull with the feed due to them sorting through it to find the best bits.if that doesn't work you my need to get a differant brand of pellet

columbines can be a bit thin as they are leghorn/legbar based hybrids mine even when she was over a year old looked a big girl but under her feathers she was a lean one

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Personally I think they need to eat more of their layers pellets as that is where all their goodness come from and will help with the laying. Mine do make a beeline for the bird feeders as well to pick up any bits the birds drop but their main food is pellets. They FR all day but I still see them go in to get some food. Could you not keep them in the run in the mornings so they can fill up on pellets, they will probably protest but you will need to persevere as they won't starve themselves. :)

I wouldn't worry too much about them feeling thin, I think layers always feel that way but I am sure someone will be along with more experience.

Sorry overlapped with the previous answer.

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Thanks for all the replies. Sorry it's taken a while to get back, but was busy at work then on Wednesday one of my cats got hit by a car so I've been a bit pre-occupied. Luckily she got away with only a broken jaw, but now we're waiting to see if the vet can pin it or whether she'll have to be referred to a specialist ortho-vet for plates. Not a good week.

 

I've worked out how much a scoop of pellets weighs so I can judge how much to put in each day. The girls don't eat anywhere near 100g each day. They are kept in the run with the food for the first few hours each morning and I'm limiting access to seed when they FR, but still the pellets are not going down much.

 

The bluebell doesn't like laying at weekends(!) and if she does have a go it's usually a softie. The columbine is laying daily (nice pale green/blue eggs !eggblue! ) and so far, not a single softie - she does seem to eat more of the pellets so that makes sense. Her eggs average out as heavier too.

 

So, I'm going to get a different brand of pellets and some mash this weekend. See if they like either of those better. I wonder if they do bird-seed flavour for chickens that think they are sparrows? :idea:

 

It's like having fussy kids!

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Well, the mash has gone down a treat. They head straight for it every morning and actually eat the stuff! I got aperfect egg from Chong for 8 straight days too - a record. Softie today though - she really doesn't like weekends :lol:

 

They especially liked it when I hid a few mealworms in the mash last week - chicken lucky dip!

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Note you can also just add water to the pellets, and after about ten minutes they're all soft. Which my two love. Another 5 minutes and you can mash it, which they also love.

 

Just an idea if you have leftover pellets.

 

One of my chickens struggled a bit with the pellets, when I just changed over from Omlet crumble to Marriages pellets, and adding water to soften them slowly got her used to the pellets. Now she gobbles up dry pellets without any problems.

 

I add water now as a treat. Simple and cheap :)

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I've been having the exact same problem! My chicks have just turned 16 and 18 weeks, however they don't seem to be eating any of their growers pellets.

 

When they were on crumbs, as soon as I'd let them out they'd head straight to their food. Now, they don't seem interested, and are only eating greens, mealworms, corn and various other snacks like yoghurt and cereal.

 

I've tried enticing them by putting meal worms in with the pellets but they simply pick them out.

 

Am getting worried as they are at POL now and I still haven't had an egg.

 

Any advice on Mash??

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Like I said, try adding water to some pellets and mashing it up. See if they like it. Mine go nuts for it. Then you can gradually mash it less, so they are just eating soft pellets, and then slowly reduce how much water you add.

 

Worked for me, but I'm just a chicken newbie, so not sure if this is just my chickens. But worth a try with a handful of pellets.

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I've been having the exact same problem! My chicks have just turned 16 and 18 weeks, however they don't seem to be eating any of their growers pellets.

 

When they were on crumbs, as soon as I'd let them out they'd head straight to their food. Now, they don't seem interested, and are only eating greens, mealworms, corn and various other snacks like yoghurt and cereal.

 

I've tried enticing them by putting meal worms in with the pellets but they simply pick them out.

 

Am getting worried as they are at POL now and I still haven't had an egg.

 

Any advice on Mash??

 

 

You've got two choices really, either keep leaving the pellets out for them and no treats for them to fill up on instead - they won't starve themselves I promise! Or you can feed them mash. The mash might be more messy to feed as the hens can have a tendency to flick it around, but if you are not bothered by this then mash might be the way to go. (But then I am biased :wink: )

 

I should also add that 16 and 18 weeks is still very early to be thinking about eggs - I think you might need to be patient for a few weeks yet, 20 weeks+ is more normal for a first egg.

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