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Eating too much?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone! I have a flock of 13 Buff Orpingtons. The flock feeds free choice from a 10 pound hanging feeder in their pen. I normally feed them organic layer pellets from Modesto Milling. In addition, they get a small amount of scratch feed from a hanging scatter feeder twice a day. The 10 pound feeder normally lasts them 5 days. I recently changed their feed to an organic whole grain layer feed also from Modesto Milling and eliminated the scratch feed. Now the flock mines through the feed and empties their feeder in less than 2 days. They leave behind a pile of peas and pellets. I leave the feeder empty for a day and they'll finish off the remaining peas and pellets. I am now having to refill their feeder every 3 days. Are they over eating? Should I be feeding them daily rations instead? Any help is appreciated.

 

post #2 of 7

An average chicken eats up to a quarter pound of feed per day. Buff orpingtons, being heavier breeds, would probably eat a good quarter pound per day. I did some quick calculations, and a 10 lb feeder feeding 13 chickens and lasting 3 days means each is eating around 0.256 pounds per day. As long as the chickens can get plenty of exercise, I wouldn't worry. That's nice looking feed though! I can see why they'd like that better than plain pellets :) 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1088873/styrofoam-incubators-club ---Come join us! 

~Below Paradise Poultry~

 

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http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1088873/styrofoam-incubators-club ---Come join us! 

~Below Paradise Poultry~

 

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post #3 of 7

With whole grain feeds, birds tend to pick out the bits that they like the best and ignore everything else. 

Before the switch, you were likely over feeding them with the scratch, and that was why your pellets lasted so long.

 

I've got 15 birds in my flock, and they eat at least 5 pounds of pellets every day.

post #4 of 7
I used to go through about 10# per day for 40 chickens. I mix my own feed, so they were wasting the alfalfa pellets and some of the corn, so I started fermenting it. Now I feed about 7# per day, and they have no choice to pick and choose; they eat it all. Added bonus is less fecal waste too wink.png
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/990759/chickens-in-permaculture

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1008185/lets-talk-relocation

3rd generation of Colorado ranchers, raising organic alfalfa, corn, Red Angus cattle, Suffolk sheep and of course, chickens! Comitted to a lifetime of health without chemicals, I am entirely dependent on what God has given me to nurture soil, plant, and animal. Sharing...
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http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/990759/chickens-in-permaculture

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1008185/lets-talk-relocation

3rd generation of Colorado ranchers, raising organic alfalfa, corn, Red Angus cattle, Suffolk sheep and of course, chickens! Comitted to a lifetime of health without chemicals, I am entirely dependent on what God has given me to nurture soil, plant, and animal. Sharing...
Reply
post #5 of 7
They arent over eating. They are eating normally. This feed may be more satisfying or tastes better. It sounds like you have a healthy flock.
The key to a happy flock is to be there for them. You have to do your job so they can do theirs. Your coop layout is also important. It doesn't have to be fancy just functional.http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/just-a-chicken-coop Is an example of it.
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The key to a happy flock is to be there for them. You have to do your job so they can do theirs. Your coop layout is also important. It doesn't have to be fancy just functional.http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/just-a-chicken-coop Is an example of it.
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post #6 of 7
With the exception of hybrid meat birds, chickens eat based on their calorie needs for the day, they won't over eat...

If they are eating more feed (taking into account the discarded waste because they pick out the favorites) it's likely because your new food is providing less calories per pound and thus they need to eat more to satisfy their daily calorie needs... Also take into consideration any changes in weather, the cooler the weather the more they need to eat to maintain their body heat...
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepBeep View Post

With the exception of hybrid meat birds, chickens eat based on their calorie needs for the day, they won't over eat...

If they are eating more feed (taking into account the discarded waste because they pick out the favorites) it's likely because your new food is providing less calories per pound and thus they need to eat more to satisfy their daily calorie needs... Also take into consideration any changes in weather, the cooler the weather the more they need to eat to maintain their body heat...

Boy, that's for sure!!

 

You also need to pay attention to your feed bag labels, know the protein levels and calculate those with other foods you are providing.

I've found that if I keep the protein at a good level, balancing out other foods, they will eat less volume.

Waste free feeders help a ton too.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

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Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
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