A few feeding questions from a beginner

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Green Tree, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. Green Tree

    Green Tree New Egg

    Jan 8, 2014
    Evening all,

    I'll be keeping chickens as soon as, but I do have a few questions...

    I plan to keep 3 Sussex birds in a Coop that does have a run I've been informed that for a beginner they're good birds, they also look very good birds - I plan to let them explore the garden further when I go to do some gardening. I understand they're a dual purpose bird and my primary objective is to gather eggs but I'd like to experience both sides of the coin at some point.

    I was wondering the following...

    What size feeder and drinker will I need?

    How often will I need to feed them, and how much per session of feeding?

    What type of grit should I be looking to purchase, as I know there's a few different types?

    Is there any specific type of poultry feed I need to give them, or is any standard chicken feed found online or in a shop good enough?

    Treats - How often should I feed treats to my Hens and what's the best type of treat?

    Thank you
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    The size of feeder and water fountain should be enough to last your chickens a few days if your out town for a weekend. Which doesn't amount to much with 3 birds though you may expand your flock in the future. Plan on 1/4-1/3 pound of feed per bird per day.

    I leave food and water out at all times. They eat and drink what they want and wont over indulge like a meat bird.

    I think the best treats are old leftover from the fridge. This is something you judge for yourself. If it seems well nutritionally balanced then it doesn't matter how much, if not so balanced then limit to about 10% total feed intake.
  3. jetdog

    jetdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2013
    A 1 or 2 gallon waterer is plenty for 3 birds, buy a standard feeder and let them have free choice they only eat until they are full, I don't feed grit as my run is sand so they get plenty, layer pellets are good and have all the nutritional needs they require, I give mine a couple of hand fulls of scratch every day and I hang a cabbage once a week for a treat as greens aren't available at this time. Hop this helps.
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I'd recommend about a one gallon size for both. I like the typical white plastic ones you see everywere. The feeders hang, and I put the waterer on a concrete block which keeps most of the litter out of the water. If your birds tend to stand on the waterer, which will get the water poopy, just glue a plastic funnel upside down to the top of the waterer.

    Most people do what I do, change the water daily and keep a standardd feed in the feeder all the time. Others remove the feeder at night (for adult birds) so mice won't get into it. Adults won't eat or drink at night, but they will look for food and water at the crack of dawn.

    I would buy a flock raiser or layer that had some animal protein in it if it were available in the local feed store, but for me it's not, so I just buy a standard brand. Personally I prefer FRM over Purina or Dumor. Standard 50 lb. bags are the most convenient and economical for a small flock. For a larger flock some people have their feed made up for them, which is cheaper, but I believe you usually have to buy in large lots, and feed can go stale or moldy. If you get a bag of feed that has a lot of dust, or a musty smell, or is clumped as if it might be moldy, take it back and get a fresh bag. There should be an expiration date on the bag. I keep feed available all the time. I find they eat a lot less when they can find more bugs and grasses in the summer, but they always eat some. Some people prefer organic feed, but I've read some horror stories where the feed was evidently substandard, and it is almost always a good deal more expensive.

    Even if you feed layer, once they start laying, I like to keep a small dish of oyster shell in the coop for any hen who seems to feel she needs extra calcium. If you feed the flock a flock raiser, you will definitely need to do this, as layer has more calcium than flock raiser.

    I've only seen chick grit and chicken grit, the former meant for young chickens and the latter for adults. The grit doesn't need to have anything added to it, it should just be ground up granite. If your soil has granite, or if you use sand, you may find they won't eat any of it. Do offier it separately as well.

    Standard feeds are formulated to provide vitamins , minerals, etc. I'm not saying they are necessarily excellent quality nutrition. But if you give much in the way of treats or table scraps. bear in mind that you are changing this balance. You don't really have to give treats at all, though many people like to. They are also handy to train them to come when you call; chickens are very food motivated and learn this quickly. Just shake the container or choose a call as you give the treats, and they will soon learn to come. I give table scraps when they are resonably well balanced nutritionally -- not a lot of bread, for example, but a casserole that wasn't well liked is fine, for example. They love certain veggie and fruit scraps as well; they will appreciate you apple peels, watermelon rinds, etc. I'll give you a link, but basically they can eat what you do, except for chocolate and desserts. (Chocolate is toxic to many animals.) The only snack I keep is black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS) because they have a pretty good protein content. It costs more per pound than scratch, but I dont give them all that much; with 9 hens, a 50 lb. bag of scratch would be too old for me to feel sagfe about it by the time I got to the end, as they only get a handful or two a day. Mealworms make a great treat, too.


    Good luck, and have fun, above all!
  5. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    For small flocks or banties i have to say i love(well as much as one can love a feeder lol) these little hanging 3lb'ers..


    The only caution is frequently tighten the nut it tends to come loose at the worse times otherwise.
  6. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 6, 2009
    What size feeder and drinker will I need?
    I'd get a ten pound hanging feeder. This will allow you to keep plenty of food available, and will makes chores easier as it is free choice.

    Here is a feeder: http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/harris-farms-hanging-feeder-10-lb

    I have one like this and it does fine. I prefer plastic to metal because I have had the metal ones collapse on me and loose a lot of feed. As for the drinker, I use a plain metal tub. I fill it up and change as needed.

    How often will I need to feed them, and how much per session of feeding?
    I feed free choice, and they eat as much as they need. I just keep the feeder full, and supplement with table scraps and scratch grains. I also free range my chickens so they eat any natural feeds like bugs and worms in the summer.

    What type of grit should I be looking to purchase, as I know there's a few different types?
    Crushed rock is fine. If you feed just layer ration they won't need it. That will dissolve in the crop. If they have access to range then they will find their own grit and none should have to be provided.

    Is there any specific type of poultry feed I need to give them, or is any standard chicken feed found online or in a shop good enough?
    They need at least 16% protein feed to maintain egg production. I prefer %20 protein feed, as I feel it is better for them. You will need to supplement with oyster shells to allow for good egg shell production. It can be found at any farm or feed store.

    Hope this helps!

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