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How Smart Are They?

post #1 of 2
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I know chickens are supposed to be smart. But are they smart enough to go back to the coop to eat when they are hungry? Here is our Fall routine now that it is getting a bit colder and I go out a little bit later in the morning:

Around 9am I go let the chickies out of their coop (I have 5 leghorns). I give them a little treat of some fresh fruit just outside of their coop and they snack on it for a few minutes then go about their own little chicken routine of heading to the far side of the yard and visiting the neighbors yard. They are out all day and have a waterer on the far side where they like to hang out. Shortly after suppertime the make their way back to the coop and head to the top enclosed area to roost. Their food is on the lower level but they don't spend a lot of time down there. There feeder is always full so I assume if they are hungry they would stop and eat before heading to roost or come down for a bite, but I never see them down there eating. In the summer I thought they would be getting enough food through foraging, they seemed to always be pecking and eating the grass and bugs in the yard. Now that colder weather is here and the grass and bugs are dying off, ARE they smart enough to be eating enough from their feeder? They are still in the upper part of the coop when I go to let them out and once the doors are open they don't stop to eat, they head right out. I rarely have to fill the feeder, I THOUGHT because they were getting enough food outside but now I'm wondering if they are hungry but just not smart enough to figure out where their constant source of food is located? They've been in this coop in this area for several weeks and know it well enough to go back to it every night...

post #2 of 2

Well, unless something else has been eating the feed, they already know where the feed is.  I would guess that they do eat breakfast between sunrise and the time you let them out.  Then the rest of the day they are finding enough yet, they don't need more before sundown.  I'm sure that as winter sets in the feeder will empty out faster and you feed bill will go up.

Den
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Den
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