6

624444

Guest
I’ve been wondering for a while, and thought I’d ask:

Is it possible for chickens to eat too much?

My hens free range and normally forage and eat feed every so often. However, the last week they have been staying in their run (even though their large run door is open to free range) and eating for hours on end. I move the feeder outside the run, and they follow it, and crowd around to eat.

I am not sure why the sudden change in behavior…

I have a somewhat wild rooster, who chases my hens to mate. Sometimes he will mate twice in a row on the same hen! He has been mating for 2-2 1/2 months now

Therefore, I am wondering if my rooster is ‘scaring them’ into staying in the run?
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,659
13,576
536
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Only CornishX are famed for eating themselves into an early grave. Most other birds will eat till content then wander off to do something else, before returning to eat more later. Or leaving feed on the ground to go farage, opportunity available.

Your Roo's behaviors would not be my first thought for cause of the behavior change.

Rather, I'd look to changes in feed. Check the date code on your feed bag. Is it fresh??? Nutrition drops with age as cracked grains go "stale" (for lack of better term), a process which is more rapid in crumble than pellet due to increases surface area and often a slightly reduced fat or other binder content to protect against oxidization.

Then I'd check your pasture. What's now in bloom/seed? What isn't in bloom/seed anymore? I free range my birds, and depending on what plants are doing whatever at what time of year, my feed savings go from 15 - 35% and back again.

Finally, I'd take a good look at their poops,for evidence of parasite.infection in the flock, which can ddefinitely affect the way they eat and drink, particularly some worms (while many bacteria tend to result in lethargy and reduced appetite).

If those three things are substantially unchanged, and there have been no predator incidents that might cause them to seek the safety of the run/coop until they redevelop some confidence/courage, THEN I might consider separating birds.
 
6

624444

Guest
Only CornishX are famed for eating themselves into an early grave. Most other birds will eat till content then wander off to do something else, before returning to eat more later. Or leaving feed on the ground to go farage, opportunity available.

Your Roo's behaviors would not be my first thought for cause of the behavior change.

Rather, I'd look to changes in feed. Check the date code on your feed bag. Is it fresh??? Nutrition drops with age as cracked grains go "stale" (for lack of better term), a process which is more rapid in crumble than pellet due to increases surface area and often a slightly reduced fat or other binder content to protect against oxidization.

Then I'd check your pasture. What's now in bloom/seed? What isn't in bloom/seed anymore? I free range my birds, and depending on what plants are doing whatever at what time of year, my feed savings go from 15 - 35% and back again.

Finally, I'd take a good look at their poops,for evidence of parasite.infection in the flock, which can ddefinitely affect the way they eat and drink, particularly some worms (while many bacteria tend to result in lethargy and reduced appetite).

If those three things are substantially unchanged, and there have been no predator incidents that might cause them to seek the safety of the run/coop until they redevelop some confidence/courage, THEN I might consider separating birds.
Very good info!
I’ll look into what you mentioned
 

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