Am I feeding the girls enough?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Nonny, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. Nonny

    Nonny Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 16, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I actually thought I might be feeding them too much, but a visitor the other day said they looked "hungry" as they were clamouring at the fence and noisily clucking at me while they weaved and dodged back and forth as if trying to get out. I interpreted this as them wanting to be let out to range but maybe I'm wrong?

    So here's what they get each day (there are three of them):

    Morning: I usually chuck some oatmeal out there mixed with warm water - about a cup in total.

    Afternoon: they freerange in the yard - we *had* more greenery until recently but it's winter here and has been fairly dry so even the grass is looking pretty brown and I imagine the pickings are pretty slim.

    Evening: I put a full scoop (2 cups) of layer mash (which seems to have a lot of black sunflower seeds in it as well as the usual grains, pellets and powdery bits) in a feed dispenser in their coop, as well as a handful of it broadcast over the run for them to scratch at in the morning. Usually they will eat all of it within 24 hours.

    Plus they get free reign on my compost heap with all the usual fruit and vege scraps, and occasional treats in the form of cheese cubes or grapes etc. Oh, and also the pickings from the kids "messy mat" which is shaken out into the yard after each meal - that usually has some pasta, crackers, fruit bits etc - whatever the kids have dropped or chucked on the floor. And any leftover rice or pasta we have - not very often as my DP is a bit of a garbage guts!

    I have only the three chooks, and they are all laying (although one I suspect has slowed down lately as I'm only getting 2 eggs per day for much of the week) and they all look fat and healthy to me.
  2. AZBootsie

    AZBootsie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2010
    Congress, AZ
    My Coop
    Mine don't get to free range, too dangerous or them where I live. So, I can't guess how much food free rangers should get. My chickens always have pellets available in the feeder. When it gets low, I fill it back up. Never had a problem with them over eating.
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I guess I missed reading where it said how many chickens you have, but I always keep a feeder full in the big coop and then I feed them in the run both in the AM and at lunch.

    If it looks like they haven't cleaned up everything in the run, I skip a meal for them until they do.
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I always keep pellet feed available in the coop, but girls range all day freely so not sure how much they really eat.
  5. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    Chickens aren't like people who sit down & eat three meals a day. They are foragers meaning they are always eating a little hear & there. Watch them range sometimes they get lucky & find a big bug & if their buddy's around they fight over it. Other times they find a peck here & a peck there. So, that's why the majority of people leave feed out 24/7. Also, chickens I'm sure you noticed LOL poop all the time so three squares won't cut it in the chicken world. That's my opinion about how chickens eat. I guess in the big chicken operations its probably different. I'm talking backyard chickens that free range.
  6. Nonny

    Nonny Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 16, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Thanks for the replies - although I'm still not sure if I'm feeding too much or too little. LOL

    They have access to the feeder in the coop 24/7... it only holds about 2.5 cups of feed and usually by evening it's empty or at least down to the finer bits they don't seem to like eating, so that's when I fill it up again for the next day (I assume they don't usually feed overnight?).

    It's just that they get this, plus "breakfast", plus the extras during the day, and it seems a lot to me. Yet this person said they were acting hungry.

    I can't leave them any more food than I already do without increasing the size of their feeder, and it's only a small coop built to fit only 2-3 chooks so there's not a lot of extra room in there. I suppose I could just broadcast more mash into the run for them to find?

    When they're freeranging they only go into the coop/run area to lay or to drink, I almost never see them in there eating once the yard gate has been opened up for them, even though that's where the food is.

    Maybe I'll just lay out an extra bowl of pellets and see if they polish it off as well.

    I don't suppose there's any magic formula of how long a bag of feed should last that might help me gauge if they're getting the right amount? I go through a 20kg bag of feed every 8-10 weeks.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
  7. reksat

    reksat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2011
    I put out roughly 5 cups for my 8 RIR that are 14 weeks old and at the end of the day there is still a little leftover. I read on here somewhere that approx. 4 oz per bird per day . Dont know if thats a great formula or not. They will eat until their full I guess.
  8. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    Quote:Our 6 eat just about 50 pounds of feed a month. They get to free range late int the day for an hour to an hour and a half. We have the feeders in the run and coop always filled but when they free range their crops look about ready to explode. It is hard to gauge the amount because they do eat all day long in small meals and the weather has a lot to do with how much they eat. Being it is winter down under you may want them to have a little more feed as they are burning more calories to keep warm. Sending them to roost with a little cracked corn before nightfall might do them well.
  9. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I've read carefully your posts. You are feeding them pretty well. They do have access to feed all day long. What you feed them in the morning, what they pick at in terms of scratch you put down every day, what they can range for and what you feed them in the pm. What with the treats and the compost pile.

    Chickens "act" starved often when people approach their fence. Ours act like this most of the time, and yet, I can see their feeder is still half full. You cannot take someone's interpretation of their excited behavior as their being truly hungry.

    You might consider feeding their layer mash to start their day, as opposed to ending their day. That would be about my only tiny critique.
  10. CarolynF

    CarolynF Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2011
    Puget Sound
    My Coop
    Mine have food in their feeder all the time and like yours they go nuts when anyone approaches. They're hoping for treats! [​IMG]

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