Hi! I am new to keeping chickens, and have 2 10 week old girls. I've put them on pulley grower pellets and tried giving them a few yummy snacks, but they seem to turn up their beaks at anything but chick crumbles! I'm wondering if they need to see another chicken eating things to get it, or if they're having trouble swallowing anything bigger than crumbles - they seem to peck fairly ineffectually at things. They ate a tiny bit of cottage cheese (once they'd pecked the chunks into tiny particles) but ignored the finely sliced comfrey mixed in with it and they love cooked brown rice. However, they have ignored silverbeet and strawberries, can't seem to do much with their puller grower pellets, and tried to hide from a slug I gave them! I've crushed their pellets and mixed them with crumbles and water to create a mash which they seem to like, but they can't seem to eat the sprouted wheat I gave them, even when I had out it through a food processor. Thoughts?

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  • Hey Kelly, think I'm about to go through the same thing!  I had my original four and they ate most things, and had their definite favourites (like silverbeet and strawberries!).  I got them at about 12 weeks and that was five years ago so I don't really recall how I got them to eat new things, but I suspect it was just time and perseverence.  When I got down to just one, Lily, I bought another young one to keep her company. 

    Buttercup DIDN'T think corn was to die for, nor strawberries, and Lily died just before Christmas, so I've now had to get Buttercup some company.  These two new ones seem more interested in the dirt on the ground, then the food in the tray!  They also definitely have trouble picking things up, but I figure they'll get better at it.

    What I've decided to do, and it might work for you, is to hand feed new stuff.  That sounds like a lot of trouble to some people, but it sounds like you've gone to a lot of trouble to give them things in a way that makes it easier to eat, so I figure you won't mind :-)  I'm like you - I spend lots of time mixing, mashing and chopping up to make things easy!

    Break small bits off things like strawberries, and offer it to them, hold up a piece of silverbeet, near the end, and hold it while they peck, etc, and hopefully once they work out it's tasty, they'll make more of an effort!  Buttercup doesn't think silverbeet is that great, but loves lettuce.  Maybe they are like kids and need to try something new multiple times until they accept it!  Plus I guess they might also be like kids and not everyone likes the same things!

    I laughed when I read about them hiding from a slug!  My original four would never eat slugs, and Buttercup does occasionally, but much prefers snails (in fact it's a fav!).  Though I do have to help her with the bigger ones by crushing the shells slightly to get her started haha.

    Ultimately I guess you just need to give them new things to add variety, work out what they like and don't like and go from there.  Anything on top of the pellets, mash, etc, is a bonus for them, and I think it's just going to take some time (and some growing bigger!) for them to get used to new, and more difficult to eat things.  I would make some of the new stuff wet, and coat it with crumbles - that way they'll go for the crumbles and hopefully accidentally get other stuff :-)

    Feel like I'm fairly new to this stuff as well (mostly make it up as I go along) but also try Google, and hopefully some others on here will have some sage advice as well! (hopefully less wordy then mine *grin*)

    Good luck and have fun! (you will!) :-)


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