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It sounds FOR SURE like they are wasting it! I haven't made this yet, but it is my plan...
It keeps them from scratching their feed out.
Click here for lots of information on feeders.
You should figure that an adult hen is going to eat around 0.3 lbs of feed every day. Your 8 hens should be going through about 2.4 lbs each day or 17 lbs in a week. Their intake is going to fluctuate a little depending on the weather, but that should give you a good idea for how much feed your hens need.