24 hour food vs. food in am & pm--Does it make a difference?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ajay, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. ajay

    ajay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was at the feed store today and spoke with one of the guys who worked there who had 40 chickens in his flock. He told me that you should feed your chickens 2x a day (morning and night) vs. giving chickens unrestricted access to food. He said that they will overfeed and then production will go down. Has anyone else heard this? Is it true?
     
  2. abejita

    abejita Chillin' With My Peeps

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    good question...I was wondering about this too. I'll be watching to see the answers you get.
     
  3. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

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    Every feed store employee is an expert. [​IMG]

    I prefer to give mine 24 hour food. It is thought that with free ranging birds, you can let range hungry so they really try to get the most food, and then feed them before bed so they can "fill up" the rest of the way. Same theory with morning and night feeding I guess. They can spend midday hunting for food.

    I have food available 24/7 and mine don't sit at the feeder all day......they eat and then when done they leave. If you dont leave food out 24/7 you risk some "lower" in the pecking order birds not getting enough.
     
  4. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    They don't overeat, they only eat to meet their energy needs. We have layer ration available 24/7 for our 2500 layer hens, they eat the same amount everyday, give or take a little. They eat a little more when it's colder, a little less when it's hotter. During the heat of summer when they are eating less it can be hard enough to get feed into them to keep production up without taking food away from them for part of the day.
     
  5. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Our feedline broke down Friday morning. Well, the feedline was running, but running empty because an auger wasn't pumping grain into the barn. My wife went out at 7 AM to let the birds out and they were pretty irate that they hadn't been fed yet. They are usually fed immediately after the lights go on at 4:30 in the morning. It took me a couple of hours to get the auger working. You should try working in a barn with a few thousand hungry birds, I thought they were going to eat me for breakfast.

    Anyways, the next day our production was down 3 or 4 percent, which is a lot. Even though it's a few thousand birds, they usually lay the same amount of eggs each day, give or take a few, with production decreasing slowly thoughout the year. A drop in production like that is usually indicative of a feed or water problem.

    I guess if they were accustomed to being fed on a different schedule they would adjust, but with reduced feeding hours birds would be competing for feed and, as somebody said, the smaller birds may not get enough.
     
  6. As a general rule most HERITAGE breeds (to an extent) will self regulate their feed. Most small flock raisers will provide feed 24/7. However most chickens owned as pets here in this country do overeat. And we pride ourselves on our big chickens. And most pet chicken owners (myself included [​IMG]) give our chickens more than enough of what they need. So those that provide morn and night feedings shouldn't be criticized as it is a good way to ensure calculated feed portions.

    Meat birds in particular DO NOT regulate themselves and can/do overeat to a point of death sometimes (although some argue it is due to genetics moreso than feed portions).

    I've spent more than half my life around chickens and have done different methods of feeding and I have gone to the 24/7 feed program myself and usually have slightly heavier birds. Egg productions is always good here but note we have exceptional laying breeds in Leghorns, RIR, BR, Sex Links and we throw in a few others for fun like EE. Meaties are a different storiy and we do those twice a year usually.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:They still only eat to fulfill their energy requirements. Many overfeed protein though. They are convinced their birds will do better on high octane feed. We manage our layer hens protein closely to control growth, and thus egg weight. If we were feeding them Flock Raiser at 20% protein they would all be huge and all be laying Super Jumbo eggs. Protein should be adjusted to how much a bird is eating. Birds will eat more in the winter when it is colder, and eat less in the summer. If a ration is low in energy the birds will eat more, if the ration is higher in energy the birds will eat less. Protein requirements remain fairly steady though, depending upon the age of the bird and production level. So if a bird is eating more, less protein is required in the mix. If a bird is eating less, then more protein is required in the mix for the bird to consume the required protein.

    Generally, corn/soy layer rations are around 16% or 17% protein which is appropriate to the energy density of the ingredients. The energy available in the ration dictates how much they eat, and the protein level dictates how much protein they get when they eat that amount. We start point-of-lay pullets on 18.5% layer feed and they grow rapidly. We reduce this slowly as they approach a large egg size and generally keep them on 16% layer feed through the winter and 17% layer feed in the summer. This keeps them growing slowly and egg size increasing slowly versus having a bunch of 8 lb layer hens laying Super Jumbo eggs that we can't sell on the retail market. By managing the protein we can achieve the results we are after without reducing feeding times and thus creating competition for feed and added stress within the flock.
     
  8. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:You could get that result from letting them grow too rapidly. As they get larger, the eggs also get larger. The birds tend to maintain the same total egg mass though, that means that as the eggs get larger, the number of eggs goes down, but they are still laying the same total weight of eggs over a given period of time.
     
  9. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

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    My birds free range and I don't provide food or water for them at all. They forage for all their food and find puddles and ditches to drink from.
     
  10. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:What kind of production do you get from that?
     

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