Ladies seem to be eating us out of house and home. First tried having feed available at all times. Bought 50lb. bag of crumble. Took 5 gal. container, drilled holes in sides and placed in a large pan. Bucket held 25 lbs. of crumble. Didn't seem to be much waste (lifted whole thing up onto cement blocks). Worked fine while had 4 laying hens. 50 lbs. seemed to last almost the whole month. Then added a laying delaware to the mix. The 5 large hens started going through it like ice cream. Turkey & banty & 2 quail got 4 cups a day (about 1 lb.) They seem fine though will start to give a little more. Banty laying, not yet turkey or quail. 4 of 5 ladies are large hens, only one leghorn. Started having to buy 2 /50 lb. bags of crumble a month. Asked around byc if that sounded like too much. Most thought yes, one thought 90 lbs. sounded about right. 10 lbs. is a lot to waste. I think 5 ladies beginning to be pigs. Am letting them free range about 1/2 hr. each day to see if it helps. Restricted them to a pound a day to share, but am rethinking that. Today will start giving them another pound after free range time in the afternoon. Also am going to get them a trough to eat from. Will secure it at head level. We'll see how this goes. Also gives extra greens daily. Yogurt weekly. Am down to an average of 2 eggs a day from various ladies, though my new layer is the most frequent. Leghorn is in moult, poor baby, and now at the bottom of the pecking order. Hope she fluffs out soon. She is a month older than the others.
After a month of feeding 5 ladies 1 pound a day (4 cups in am and 4 cups in pm) in a trough feeder, plus at least 1/2 hour daily free ranging in yard, 4 cups for turkey and bobwhites, still free feeding banty; I'm now using a little over 50 lbs. of feed for the month. All five ladies are laying again daily (though confound them, not in the nest boxes) and an added benefit is they come running when I call, never peck my feet anymore and my dh is smiling again. Moult is over and we dyed our own eggs for Easter for the first time.
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