Moving them on to pellets?

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LadyA
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Moving them on to pellets?

Post by LadyA » Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:01 am

My new girls, when I got them just over a week ago, I had assumed were on pellets. TBH, over all the years I've got pullets from the su pplier, they've always been on pellets, so it never occurred to me to ask. However, after a few days, I noticed that the feed wasn't disappearing, and the hens were starving! They were literally mobbing me in the evenings for their (very small! :oops: ) corn ration. So, I started softening and crumbling the pellets with water, and feeding them a big bowl of that, twice a day. They gobble the lot!

So, two questions, because before, I've always just filled a feeder and let them help themselves:

1. How much feed do they need per day? There are six of them. (hybrids)
2. How do I move them on to pellets? I'd rather have them on pellets, as it's a lot handier to just feel the treadle feeder. I've tried mixing some pellets in with the "mash", but they're ignoring them. Minxes!
I guess, really, it doesn't matter too much, as long as they are getting well fed. They are now out free ranging most of the day, so won't starve, and they do finish every scrap of the feed I give them.

Thanks in advance for any advice! :-)17
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Tweetypie
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Re: Moving them on to pellets?

Post by Tweetypie » Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:46 pm

When I first got my ex batts and very first hens, I didn't realise there were two types of feed and I bought pellets. They didn't seem to eat them, either, so I bought mash, which was messy and a lot of waste. After a couple of months, I introduced two new hens, which had been fed pellets. I was then in a dilemma of sorts, but thought the pellets were better as there was little waste. My OH, being a daft sod, put the pellets in the blender for a few seconds, to make them less hard, which seem to placate all four. After a couple of weeks, I just gave them the pellets in full form and they ate them . It was either that, or starve. ;-) Mine were also free ranging and I also gave them dark greens as a treat.
With regards to how much to give them...I don't know. I just keep checking the feeder daily, to ensure it isn't low.
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Marigold
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Re: Moving them on to pellets?

Post by Marigold » Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:11 pm

All chickens seem to prefer their pellets as a damp mash, preferably with extra corn mixed in, and any suitable kitchen extras you may have handy. In the winter, I give this mid-afternoon, about an hour before roosting time, so they have a really good feed and some extra water in their mix, before going to roost for up to 15 hours. Like you, I've also found it useful to start new pullets on something similar to get them feeding if they're a bit shell-shocked at first. By this time of the year, they don't really need it, but they do look forward to it, so I've carried on so far. I'm adding a daily dose of Nettex mineral powder now they're in their second laying season, and so far eggshell quality is good. As I get 4-5 eggs per day, more than we use, I usually give them a hardboiled egg mashed in, shell and all, and I think this helps as well. They also get a good feed of greens every day, and at the moment this is usually a big bunch of free goosegrass hung up to peck at. The yolks are a lovely deep colour when they have plenty of dark greens. They will eat the stems from the cabbage leaves you're about to cook, if you line them up and chop them into little bits. (stems not hens!) Mine also get apple and pear cores and peels, and any spare crusts of my own homemade organic wholemeal bread, cut up into 1cm. cubes and served moist mixed with the pellets. I used to avoid giving them any leftovers, but am coming round to thinking that feeding them suitable, low-salt, low-sugar, low-fat leftovers is a good traditional way to help avoid food waste. (Yes, I am aware that this is technically illegal, but hey, let's use common sense here, folks.)

There's no problem feeding them a damp mash if you want to, it's just up to the keeper, they will take what they need if just fed dry pellets, and of course mine eat pellets most of the day anyway, according to appetite. I have a big feeder and just refill it when empty, about once a week on average. I do enjoy the way they greet me with evident excitement and delight when I go in, bowl in hand, and I like watching them having a good feed from the huge communal plate, and also it's chance to observe that everybody is actually eating normally and seems in good health.
rick
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Re: Moving them on to pellets?

Post by rick » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:11 am

Tweetypie wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:46 pm
My OH, being a daft sod, put the pellets in the blender for a few seconds, to make them less hard, which seem to placate all four.
I melted a hand blender one time trying to do similar with dry pellets.
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Tweetypie
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Re: Moving them on to pellets?

Post by Tweetypie » Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:32 pm

Omg Rick. Well I must say after discovering he was using my blender, there were a few expletives dripping out of my mouth! He could have bashed them in a tea towel with the rolling pin...which is what will happen to him if he uses it again 😁
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Marigold
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Re: Moving them on to pellets?

Post by Marigold » Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:00 pm

And of courser, they go nice and soft if you just add some warm water....
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LadyA
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Re: Moving them on to pellets?

Post by LadyA » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:21 pm

I've decided what I'll do is feed them softened pellets in the mornings, and just let them use the feeder or go hungry the rest of the day! We'll see how it goes. They are coming in to lay. Five eggs yesterday and the day before, but only three today. They are not inclined to go out into the outside pen much. Tomorrow, I'm hoping to get the grass cut out there, so that might encourage them.
Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
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