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Worried about my girls not eating!

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:59 pm
by Nancyandthegirls
Hi there,

We recently went on holiday and left our girls in the capable hands of a neighbour. They were fine when we got back, although had stopped laying for the whole time we were away. Now one of them is moulting, quite badly, and naturally no eggs. I am trying to feed them protein rich food with meat and veg and oats etc (meatloaf recipe from Fresh Eggs Daily). However, they won't eat it. I have tried all sorts of combinations but still just a quick peck at it then off to eat grass. They have layers pellets out all the time so there is food and they do seem to eat that (although they didn't at first).
I am just getting worried because the one that is moulting especially needs more protein and I don't think she is getting it. Maybe it's because she looks so scrawny with half her feathers gone (and no tail feathers!!) that I am so worried.
Does anyone have any advice or different recipies that I could try to tempt them with? Thank you!

Re: Worried about my girls not eating!

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:05 pm
by dinosaw
Don't worry about it Nancy, they will be absolutely fine without any added protein, mine always have been. If you still really want to feed them something extra then this article by Tim gives some pointers.
https://poultrykeeper.com/general-chick ... -moulting/

Re: Worried about my girls not eating!

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:39 pm
by Nancyandthegirls
Thanks Dinosaw! It's funny how they won't eat the food I carefully prepare for them but will, of course, gobble up the mealworms and sunflower seeds.
One other thing - is it normal for them to be much quieter when moulting? Henny Penny, who was laying, used to be so noisy and now she hardly utters more than a little chirrup. I miss her talking to me :o(

Re: Worried about my girls not eating!

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:08 am
by dinosaw
They can go quiet Nancy, they generally feel terrible so a lot of their behaviour changes just like when we feel under the weather, you will find that they are also less likely to want you to handle them as they refeather as the new feather regrowth makes it painful for them.

Re: Worried about my girls not eating!

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:47 pm
by BabyBantam
Chickens can be wary of new food and get very down in the dumps and quiet when moulting. Last year one of my girls was nearly bald and I got very worried, but she's still here, raised chiCks this summer and had a much less violent moult this time round.
Try them with some meal worms and a few sunflower hearts, but don't worry too much. You could also try adding a tonic to their water if suitable.
One thing to watch out for is feather pecking, the blood quills can be very tempting, and sometimes become a target for a bit of snacking ( a squirt of the purple spray should sort that out).