Am I feeding too much?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by diditotaro, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. diditotaro

    diditotaro Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello

    I have 14 hens ( of average size- not bantams and not Jersey giants ) Mostly red and black sex links and a few Plymouth rocks as well as a very large Roo (24 lbs)

    My question is: My neighbor who has 7 ...only goes thru 1 #50 lb bag of crumble a month plus table scraps and his birds while smaller than mine don't look bad but my kids are clearing thru a #50 bag of crumble...a #50 bag of cracked corn / or scratch grains...4 loaves of bread.....4 lbs of cooked pasta and 2 large containers of oatmeal and about 12 scrambled eggs every 2 weeks. I also supplement with tuna and rotisserie chickens... I cannot afford these chickens! They cost 6x's my 2 Labradors??

    I have watched on weekends etc...and my kids are eating it all. It's not other animals sneaking in. They just always seem starving so I keep giving them food. They also free range over 300 ft of meadow a day. They do not look fat. They are certainly healthy looking but I keep hearing everyone say how economical keep one's own chickens are and I am not finding that so. I think I am spending the most it seems on pasta., meat and veggies/fruits to feed them late afternoon.

    I put their feed out every morning but when I get home from work at night they run to gate and screech until I feed them veggies...fruit and pasta or bread or something...its like I have to prepare them a meal or something. It seems so odd to me just how much these things eat!!!!!

    My neighbor only puts out 3 cups of crumble a day for his 7 chickens while I am going through 8-10 cups a day.
    Should I be doing much less? I don't want to starve them.

    What should I be doing???

    Didi
     
  2. matt44644

    matt44644 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    14 chickens should be around 21-25lbs per week.
     
  3. matt44644

    matt44644 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here are some basic guidelines for how much feed you can expect to go through per bird:
    • If you have a baby chick, you can estimate about 10 pounds of feed for the first 10 weeks per bird.
    • If you are raising adult birds, the average amount they will eat per week per bird is about 1.5 lbs.
    Amounts will vary however, based on breed, size, if they are producing eggs, if they are allowed to roam and scavenge for bugs, insects, grass, etc.
    Copied from http://www.nutrenaworld.com/knowled...try-feed-frequently-asked-questions/index.jsp
     
  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Your feed plan is treat heavy - scratch, for example, should make up no more than 10% of a bird's overall intake- you are feeding at a 1:1 ratio if you are going through a 50# bag of each in the same time period. The chickens are only costing you as much as they are because you are choosing to have them do so by paying for all the unnecessary supplemental foods you are giving them.
     
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It just goes to show how good animals are at training humans!

    My horses are the same.... people cannot pass the gate without feeding them. If they don't give them something, the horses walk away, so the people go to the shop next door and buy some carrots and mints and come back. Some people even drive to my yard every day, just to give my horses some carrots. Animals are not as stupid as people make out.... humans on the other hand are a soft touch!

    If you can't afford to feed them all these extras then don't. I have a rule that I don't feed my animals anything which is fit for human consumption. Of course I break this rule occasionally, but the rule stands and I am conscious of when I break it.

    I think you need to be a bit less soft with your birds. If you can't stop the treats altogether, then reduce them by half this week and half again next week and so on. Treats are only treats if you get them occasionally. You are spoiling your birds and it is not necessary, so don't feel obliged to continue.

    Regards

    Barbara
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Chickens are opportunistic feeders. They will eat as much as they can get ahold of, to the point of causing them to gain huge masses of fat surrounding their internal organs, which makes it difficult for them to lay eggs. This can also cause them to have fatty livers, and die earlier than their more fit flock mates would. At the most, they should not have more than 1/2 cup of feed/day, and that's assuming that they get NOTHING else. Your neighbor's feeding plan is much more realistic to meeting the chicken's needs. If you cut back on the feed, your girls will get more nutrition from their free ranging, which will be far healthier for them. If you want to give them more nutritional advantage, you might consider giving them fermented feed. (check the threads regarding that subject) They have you well trained, and have become conditioned to expect the extra feed. They'll complain for a bit,... or maybe more than a bit! but you'll be doing a favor by cutting back.
     
  7. diditotaro

    diditotaro Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you! I appreciate the feedback....
     
  8. diditotaro

    diditotaro Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you....I thought because they weren't fat that they were "healthy" ...glad I posted. The comments today were a good wake up call!

    Thanks again for taking the time

    Didi
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    you're very welcome.
     
  10. 10xmama

    10xmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 14 hens too.

    -- They through two 50lb bags of crumbles a month.
    -- Their treats consist of meal worms and blackoil sunflower seeds. The meal worms are a treat I give them when I let them out to forage. They get a couple handfuls thrown on the ground. The sunflower seeds are their evening treat. I give them one scoopful (about 1.5 cups) to share.

    They forage on our wooded property everyday from 1pm to sundown.

    In the summer when its in the mid 90s here … I sometimes treat them to watermelon scraps … they sure like that :) But it doesn't happen very often.

    I would agree that you are likely giving your's too many treats. The things they take in on their own while foraging are better for them than people food and table scraps.
     

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