Friday, June 7, 2013

picky, picky chickies

Redder stands guard over the food

I was pretty excited when our local urban farm supply store began selling organic chicken feed in pellet form.  I realize this might not sound that exciting, but I've been waiting for this product for 4 years!

When the girls first transitioned from chick feed to layer feed, we bought a beautiful feed blend created by a local organic farmer.  Unfortunately, it was a whole-grain crumble and our girls scattered it everywhere as they tried to pick out the good bits.  They wasted so much food (unless you consider all of the sparrows and squirrels who gobbled it up) that we switched to pellet feed.  Pellet feed is great.  They don't pick through it and fling it high and low - they just eat it.

As soon as our local store started selling organic pellets, I bought a 50 pound bag and eagerly filled the feeder.  The aroma was lovely - grainy and toasty smelling.  Apparently the girls did not share my enthusiasm.  In turn, each hen came to the feeder, picked up a pellet in her beak, dropped it on the ground, turned up her beak and strutted away in disgust.  Chirpy was more determined than the other 4.  She pulled out pellet after pellet, dropping each one, optimistically hoping that she would find something more to her liking buried under the unpalatable new stuff.  No such luck.  She eventually gave up too.

I tried tossing it on the ground like it was a treat.  Nope.  There was no fooling them.  I tried putting some in their treat dish.  Nope.  I tried adding warm water and making a mush of it.  They all tried it, but they weren't making their happy chicken sounds, so I think they were just eating it to appease me.  They simply refused to eat it dry from the feeder, so I tried the warm water mush thing a few more times.  They never did eat much of it and I was worried that they were going to starve themselves rather than embrace their new food.

After a few days they started to get cranky, and whenever I tossed them some leafy greens, the older girls were extra-bossy and aggressive as they scrambled to get their share.  I think they were really hungry!!  Feeling defeated, I went back to the store, bought their regular old food and refilled the feeder.  All 5 of them came running over and ate and ate until their crops were bulging.  Little Redder was the last to walk away.  In fact, she stood guard near the food for a while; protecting it lest I try to replace it with that icky organic stuff again.

Does anyone need 49 1/2 pounds of organic chicken feed? Anyone??

Redder enjoys the "good" stuff

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