14 chickens go through a 50lb bag in 3 weeks. Is this right?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by poultrylubber, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. poultrylubber

    poultrylubber Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi everyone :) I have 14 chickens every one but 5 are Heritage chickens. I go through a 50lb bag of feed in three weeks. This seem like a lot of feed to me and I am having a really hard time paying for all the feed. I give them free access to the feeder. If anyone can give me some advice on how to be food efficient I would really appreciate it :)
     
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: It's less than 1/4 lb per bird per day, which is about what most birds eat.
    You're doing better than average
     
  3. duckinnut

    duckinnut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Seems about right for full grown standard size birds that are laying.. On average you can figure about 4oz. per bird per day. So at 3 plus lbs. a day times 3 weeks for 50lb is right about where you need to be.
     
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Most complete chicken feeds have around 4 ounces listed per standard chicken per day, so you would need roughly 56oz day or 3.5 pounds, or 73.5 pounds in three weeks if that is all you feed, yours are already under that. Are you feeding crumbles or pellets or mash? Do you free range or supplement with scraps or cut the food with anything like grain? Are these laying also?
     
  5. poultrylubber

    poultrylubber Chillin' With My Peeps

    I free range them in the afternoon, once they have layed all their eggs. I give them a large scoop of scratch grains in the morning. I have about 5 chickens that aren't laying and then one rooster so all in all I have 8 birds that are laying.
     
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    They will eat a bit more in the winter to aid with generating body heat.

    I find that when feed costs go above what is sensible, I don't trim feed, I trim the number of birds. Sometimes, it is necessary.
     
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  7. mg15

    mg15 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    cut the food with anything like grain?
    What do you mean by this. ?
    I give Kamut scratch every other day, that is a wheat grain.
    But what do you mean ?
    Thanks.
     
  8. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    If you don't want to cull any birds, some thing to maybe try. Does where they free range have food available for them to find? If so, Can you free range them all day? The more they find their own food the less you have to feed... hens will usually come back to the coop to lay if they are used to it. I would also feed them in the evening so they spend all day looking for food instead of eating what is easily available. Also soaking/sprouting grains or using a fodder system is something to think about.
    Ya, cut by adding something cheaper or a lower protein percentage. Most Layer is 16%, if you buy 20% you may be able to wind up with a total that is cheaper if you cut the 20% with corn/oats/wheat etc down to 15 0r 16%. Local mills may also have something like Distillers grains or Corn distillers, it is usually fairly cheap and you can add it as a protein supplement. Protein=money, The commercial Layer foods are all around 16% since that is apparently where the cost/benefit ratio of protein to egg production is best for the commercial flocks. Note that some of this (lowering protein, feeding less etc) may cut your egg production to some extent. Also, mash is usually cheaper than crumbles or pellets, there maybe more waste with mash, but if you are willing to feed it wet, (more labor intensive) it may come out cheaper in the long run (here the mash is more than $2 cheaper than the pellets).
     
  9. poultrylubber

    poultrylubber Chillin' With My Peeps

    I live in the woods with LOTS of bugs and weeds. I would like to free range them all the time but I find the number of eggs I get goes down when I do. My layer feed is 17%.
     
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    With winter approaching and the reality of frozen, snow covered ground, the time to make decisions about whether can or cannot afford the feed is now. It is a common practice to winter over far fewer birds than one carries during the milder times of year. Lots of folks are cutting back their flock size at this time of year.

    To prevent eggs being laid off site, many people do not release the birds to range until 3 pm which is normally the "end of business day" as far as egg laying goes. Of course, this decreased time of free ranging limits the hours of their finding their own feed. It's all a matter finding the right balance in all these issues.
     

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