Am I feeding too much?

CatCohen

Chirping
May 5, 2015
48
11
67
I asked a farmer at the Farmer's Market today how long chickens live for. He said 3 to 5 years. One of the two last remaining of the original flock died over thanksgiving. We were shocked because although she hasn't laid eggs in several months, she was alert, running around, and fine on Wednesday. We thought it would be her sister who has been lethargic and seems much worse.

Both hens are just over 3 years old. The farmer told us we were over-feeding. He said we should throw down enough food for them to finish in 30 minutes and then they need to forage. We have those tube feeders and they can eat when they want.

Are we causing our chickens to be too fat and unable to lay eggs? The one that is lethargic now is so skinny and always has been. Are we killing our chickens?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Grateful
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
45,484
79,262
1,462
Wisconsin
A balanced ration should always be available. Some chickens do die sooner than others but my experiences is 4-8 years on average with some living longer and some less.

What breeds? Some like sex links can have a shortened life. Feeding too many extras can cause problems, especially if birds aren't exercising enough.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,135
38,096
1,096
southern Michigan
I think that was not good advice! Your 'farmer' has no idea what's available to your birds besides their feed, and having a good balanced chicken feed available free choice is always best.
Many hens do develop fatal health issues after three years of age, although a few will live to nine or ten (three of mine!) so your loss is considered 'normal attrition'.
Without a necropsy, you'll never know what her problem was.
Mary
 

BigATC

Songster
Jun 26, 2017
119
510
157
Spokane County, WA
My understanding is that the breed can make a big difference. Most of the people I know allow their flock free choice on feed. I have taken to free ranging on my small property in the late afternoon. As long as the diet is healthy (not too many treats) and they have room to get some exercise I expect they will be fine. IMO.
 

AnimalGeek23

Crowing
Apr 10, 2018
1,161
8,703
457
New York State
Agree to sassysarah123. Chickens are smart(well, as smart as they can be) and will stop when they've eaten enough. Chickcns can live for 3-5 years or 8-12 years. It just depends on the breed. I'm sorry for your loss :hugs:hugs:hugs
 

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