What is the best way to feed FF to chickens? I know your supposed to give them as much as they will eat in 30 minutes. But how many times a day? Can it be fed free choice like dry feed? Do chicks need to eat FF free choice? I don't understand if feeding free choice or restricting feed is better for chickens. I don't want then getting fatty liver syndrome but I still want them to be full. If crops are full in the morning and at night are they full? When I ferment should I figure 1/2 a cup of feed per large chicken and a 1/4 cup a bantam? Sorry for all the questions.
Opinions vary but I think the best way is in a trough...easy to fill with wet feed and allows the flock to spread out along the length to eat, so less chance of lesser flock members to get shoved out or driven off the feed. When feeding in meals, that's a great feature. It's not a hard and fast rule that they have to clean up that feed in 30 min. or less...sometimes my birds will eat a bit, go out and range some and then eat a bit more. By the next time I feed them it's all gone....if it's not, I feed them less that next meal. A person has to play with that a bit to see how much each flock needs at any given time of the year.
You can fill that feed trough so that they can feed off it all day long if you like but the FF turns a tad grey when you do that and sometimes they won't clean up that older FF right away. An easier method is to just feed 1/2 cup per bird, per day.
Chicks can be fed in meals as well...I usually feed them two meals the first week or so and they require a bit longer at first to clean up their feed, but chicks don't have to have continuous feed....they don't have that much feed in front of them out on range and they have to run their little legs off to get the feed they do have, so this concept that chicks have to have a full feeder all the time is a mystery to me.
It's all relative, so a person just needs to play with it a bit to see how much their flock can consume without leaving too much behind. It's sort of like feeding little kids....you know when you've given them too big of portions by how much they leave behind and you also know if you didn't give enough by how quickly they clean their plates and are wanting more. When you hit that sweet spot, you'll know it.
Here's a great site for the answers to many of the FF questions: https://tikktok.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/fermented-feed-faq/