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Are my chickens a bit thick?

9 replies

dilbertina · 25/06/2008 08:46

Was having such a problem with marauding sparrows I bought a treadle feeder for my chickens.

Unfortunately they just don't get it.

I left it propped open for a day or two so they would know it had food in it.
Then I tried scattering food on foot plate to encourage them to stand on it.
The clanking noise when it opens seemed to scare them so I have now glued bits of cork on all clank points so is not nearly so clanky.
I have absolutely stuffed the bottom bit with food so they can see it's full of food.

And they still won't feed from it!

I must admit to keep taking pity on them and throwing a couple of handfuls on ground so they don't starve.

Has anyone got any ideas? Do you think if I stop giving them alternatives they'll conquer their fear? Am a little worried they really are stupid enough to starve themselves to death rather than risk going near scary metal thing!

OP posts:
mistlethrush · 25/06/2008 09:09

I'm not sure that your thread title was correct - I think probably that most chickens are thick - not just yours! We had a rescued chicken that had fallen off the back of a lorry (actually) - when she arrived she could only eat corn when she could take a beak full (and would then splutter as she had too much in her beak to swallow) and when she discovered that grass was edible, we all had to mind where we walked... We had to put her under bushes when it was raining and windy - she didn't copy the bantams, and she hit her head every when she went into the hen house (the others ducked!). She would also let the smallest bantam boss her around - even though this meant putting her head down to bantam height. The bantams, particularly the non-special breeds, were generally a bit more with it.

Never had the feeding/sparrows problem - only gave one small handfull of corn in the morning and they found all the rest of their food, so what corn there was disappeared very quickly.

ingles2 · 25/06/2008 09:19

we've got lots of small birds who wait for the feeders to be brought out. My hens are getting a bit more savvy and dive in there quick these days as it didn't take them long to discover there would be nothing left.
Chickens are stupid...but they won't starve themselves. leave them to get on with it for a few days and see what happens.
Now... how can I stop a pair of pheasants pinching all the pellets???

mistlethrush · 25/06/2008 10:54

My parents tried to stop pheasants eating the niger seed out of the goldfinch feeder - at about 4ft. Despite wires to prevent them perching the pheasants still manaaged to get quite a bit - which makes it rather expensive

WelliesAndPyjamas · 25/06/2008 18:34

one of our chickens makes it her personal mission in life to scare away the sparrows - that is what she does all day!

love the story of mistlethrush's stupid chicken! especially the bit about knocking her head every night!

nothing constructive to add though - sorry

dilbertina · 26/06/2008 08:38

ok, they really are getting quite hungry now but are still convinced treadle is work of devil! The sparrows on the other hand seem to be working out that if they work as a team their combined weight is enough to work the treadle.....

No, I have to face facts and accept that my chickens are never going to get on the gifted & talented register!

Wellies, how much do you want for your sparrow-scaring chicken?!

OP posts:
WelliesAndPyjamas · 26/06/2008 08:52

I'll give her to you gladly! She drives me bonkers. Other than the sparrow obsession she is actually quite deranged and goes in to utter hysterics if anyone goes within 10 feet of her and has massive temper tantrums if another chicken is laying in 'her' spot. She isn't on the G&T list either, that's for sure.

Your sparrows sound sharp though!

squiffy · 26/06/2008 08:56

I know nothing about chickens, but I do think your thread title is priceless.

Aefondkiss · 28/06/2008 01:20

I feed the crows and sparrows, robins, blackbirds and any other wee birds when feeding the hens, plus a family of mice, who in turn feed the local stoats... who killed my guinea pigs

... I don't really mind the crows etc, or the mice, but if it was a rat issue then I would think I had a problem!

our hens are fairly free ranging, they have loads of space to find food, and lots of grass etc to eat, plus a compost heap to scavenge in, but I worry they might be affected by the spores! and they lay well enough so I am not too worried about them being hungry, but then we don't have a complicated (for hens) feeder for them to figure out.

Califrau · 28/06/2008 01:30

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