help my chickens are wasting food!!!! : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

i use a old galvenized hanging feeder for my chickens.after i fill it up sometimes the chickens have all of the feed scattered over the ground.Any ideas how i could stop them from doing this??It is such a waste of food and money!

-- michele rypstra (, January 20, 2002


From what I understand the chickens will forage for the food afterwards.

Do you find it there the next day?

-- Rick (, January 20, 2002.

Just don't feed them anymore until they clean up what they spill. It's different with chicks just learning to eat, but once they are older, they will clean it up. It's also the reason I feed pellets or grains, and not scratch or crumbles. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, January 20, 2002.

Never put out more than they will eat in about an hour or hour and a half. Putting out more encourages rats and mice. This will train the chickens to come eat at chow time and to forage for grasses and weeds in between.

-- Rose (, January 20, 2002.

What kind of feed are you giving them? If you are feeding something like a scratch grain that is a mixture of assorted grains, what they are doing is similar to children - they are picking out their favorite stuff, and leaving the rest. If you are feeding a lay ration in a pellet or krum form, they are doing what is called 'billing out' - the flick their beaks sideways in the feed, and spill a bunch of food on the floor, then eat from the floor. Quite often they pull another kid trick and put more on their plate than they can eat. Sometimes they eat it the next day, but more often they just help themselves to more. Try hanging the feeder so that it is level with their backs. The idea here is to make not so easy for them to bill out. If that doesn't work, I would try taking the feeder away. Offer them the feed, let them satisfy themselves (usually 10 minutes or so, depending on your chickens) then take the feeder away. Then they'll clean up what's on the ground. Feed them several times a day. If you're not home all day, then this is not the best answer, but it's a suggestion anyway. Lots of luck.

-- Bernie from Northern Ontario (, January 20, 2002.

That's amazing. I have fed my hens in an open rubber dish for the past 5 years and they've always been fine with that, until this year. Now I should say that I have 6 layers but I replace the 2 oldest hens each year so the group dynamics change annually. This year they would empty the dish all over the barn and were simply making their hen house into a large rat/mice feeder. So, I went out and bought one of those old-fashioned hanging galvanized feeders and the problem has been solved. Do you mean to tell me that down the road the *@#$% things are going to figure out how to do this AGAIN and I'll have to adjust somehow again?! Geez!

-- Sheryl in Me (, January 20, 2002.

Hi Michell, post your question on The Poultry Connection, lots of experience there with chickens and feed, and feeders. As mentioned above you sure don't want food laying around for mice and rats. LQ

-- Little Quacker (, January 21, 2002.

The feeder should be hung so the lip of tray the hens eat from is at least as high as their backs. This way they can still eat, but it is more difficult for them to fling the food around.

-- Laura Rae Jensen (, January 21, 2002.

I just recently hung the feeder at back level and it does help with mash waste. Previously, I had just set the feeder on the ground and let them eat out of it that way, much less waste since it's been hung.

Stacy in NY

-- Stacy (, January 21, 2002.

I use the hoppers that hold 25 pounds of feed like some of you, but I don't hang them; they sit on the ground. I keep feed in them at all times. I've never had a rodent problem, and there's several hoppers out there. My birds free range during the day on pasture grass, but wander in and out of the pens throughout the day to eat/drink/lay eggs.

-- ~Rogo (, January 21, 2002.

i fashioned a feeder that is basically flat (2 inch deep) and then nailed chicken wire over it....they can peck at the feed, but cant scratch or fling it out...

-- Pat (, January 21, 2002.

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