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How much to feed a chicken daily (actual need)?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

My friend says I'm probably feeding my chickens too much. That they act voracious, viciously so, but dont actually need so much food as the chickens make me think. Like nearly every time I approach their run they all come to me, right up to the fence line or to the run's door if that's where I am, as if they're starving refugees. I do make them work for their food, scattering it here and there within the run, making them hunt for it, as if for Easter eggs.  They do seem to get lotsa exercise with all that frenetic energy that only gets ramped up during feeding. Still I may be feeding them too much. I just want to optimum levels for egg production? I'm not trying to fatten them up for my own eating. They're layers. Thanks, Nick

post #2 of 7


I personally have food available for my flock all day. They will only eat what they need - unless you put a light in the coop with food 24/7. 

 

CT

Nairobi, Kenya
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Nairobi, Kenya
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post #3 of 7

You don't want to treat birds too much. Corn, scratch and other treats that are not actual feed should be limited. Feed itself can be left out all day, taken in in night to detract rodents and bear.

 

Birds quickly recognize who the feed dispenser is and will come running. Being so food oriented it's very easy to train them to come running with a call or whistle. When I had flocks free ranging and they went out of sight or were in an area I didn't want could just whistle and they'd come. Worked for if there was a need to pen them earlier than roost (bed) time. Sunflower seed, scratch, kitchen scraps all make excellent treats and opportunities to start using whatever you want as a call. Pavlov's dog salivated by the sound of a bell. My chickens come to attention and run to me with a whistle. Some prefer the traditional "Here Chick! Here chick, chick, chick. Here Chick!" with a shrill voice.

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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post #4 of 7

The amount of feed intake depends on so many variables it's not possible to say accurately. In general you can use an amount like .25lbs per bird to figure if you've a wildlife problem eating your feed but it's not nearly accurate enough for rationing unless you know your flock. Climate from winter to summer changes amount birds eat. Bantam, standard or heavy class birds changes the amount. Age of birds and if currently laying changes the amount. It's really all over the place. This winter full grown large fowl birds not laying ate only o.16lbs per day each. Now that it's spring and they are active and all laying it's over .25 lbs but haven't actually measured it just see it's nearly double the amount and I've not a rodent or wildlife problem eating feed. Season and laying was the change.

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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post #5 of 7
I think leaving it available in a clean container is vital. They can regulate their own intake
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

I stopped using feeders and started doing my own broadcasting of their feed after I saw how they fight over position at the feeder excluding many and feeding a few, relatively. Plus I thought it was better if they had to move for their food rather than just move to a stationary feeder. Also they get their grit from the ground and not just the feed in their feeder. It takes only a few minutes for me to scatter the feed around their run. To my eyes, this method engages their almost frenetic energy. It's natural to have to work for food, besides, even if they do regulate their own intake.

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by amiachicknorwat View Post
 

I stopped using feeders and started doing my own broadcasting of their feed after I saw how they fight over position at the feeder excluding many and feeding a few, relatively. Plus I thought it was better if they had to move for their food rather than just move to a stationary feeder. Also they get their grit from the ground and not just the feed in their feeder. It takes only a few minutes for me to scatter the feed around their run. To my eyes, this method engages their almost frenetic energy. It's natural to have to work for food, besides, even if they do regulate their own intake.

Pecking order at the feeders is normal and part of a healthy flock dynamic. You should have enough feeders so that everyone can eat without having to jostle for position. If they run out of feed during the day, refill them. They will not overeat feed. Feed should be available all day long. 

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