Am I overfeeding/spoiling them?

PrimeFactor

Chirping
Nov 17, 2018
31
150
89
Portland, OR
Hi! Peaches & Mildred's mama here. My two black australops are rescues, and between 2-3 years old. I'm not looking for "practical/utilitarian" feeding advice here, but rather trying to determine if the manner in which I'm pampering them is essentially harmless, or genuinely bad for them. Like... will chickens "go goldfish" and just keep eating til they've damaged their stomachs?

I give my girls the normal amount of feed (about 1/2 cup per day per chicken) and grit, and they have free run of my large fenced yard for most of the day, in which they hunt for bugs.

But first thing in the morning I give them what I call "chicken salad" (a salad for a chicken, ha ha) in which I include about 4 types of fresh veggies & fruits. It's about the size of a small cereal bowl, half full, and feeds both girls.

Then at mid-day I also give them about 1/4 cup of mixed dry oatmeal & hemp hearts, scattered on the ground. In addition to this are occasional treats, like a bite of the fruit or bread I'm eating. They are irresistible little mooches and it's hard to say No!

I think in their last home they were underfed. Now I'm afraid they might explode (figuratively speaking) if I let them eat all they want.

I'm not asking for a no-nonsense practical view. They are adored pets, not service animals, and I enjoy pampering them. My chief concern is their health.

Please let me know your thoughts! Thank you. ❤️
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,607
137,647
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
Hi! Peaches & Mildred's mama here. My two black australops are rescues, and between 2-3 years old. I'm not looking for "practical/utilitarian" feeding advice here, but rather trying to determine if the manner in which I'm pampering them is essentially harmless, or genuinely bad for them. Like... will chickens "go goldfish" and just keep eating til they've damaged their stomachs?

I give my girls the normal amount of feed (about 1/2 cup per day per chicken) and grit, and they have free run of my large fenced yard for most of the day, in which they hunt for bugs.

But first thing in the morning I give them what I call "chicken salad" (a salad for a chicken, ha ha) in which I include about 4 types of fresh veggies & fruits. It's about the size of a small cereal bowl, half full, and feeds both girls.

Then at mid-day I also give them about 1/4 cup of mixed dry oatmeal & hemp hearts, scattered on the ground. In addition to this are occasional treats, like a bite of the fruit or bread I'm eating. They are irresistible little mooches and it's hard to say No!

I think in their last home they were underfed. Now I'm afraid they might explode (figuratively speaking) if I let them eat all they want.

I'm not asking for a no-nonsense practical view. They are adored pets, not service animals, and I enjoy pampering them. My chief concern is their health.

Please let me know your thoughts! Thank you. ❤️
Nope, they won’t explode.
They’ll fill their crop and stop eating. This is an important point to note because if they fill their crops with rubbish such as scratch feed they don’t get the proper nutrients.
Other foods apart from the commercial feed is fine. Free range chickens eat all sorts of stuff throughout the day and seem to survive.
I try not to feed them any more grains in large quantities, they get enough in the commercial feed they eat, this includes oats obviously. Give them cooked sardines, tuna and meat. all of these contain complete proteins. Green veg is good for minerals and some vitamins. Balance and some common sense is required.
 

Lin_0330

Songster
Apr 9, 2018
67
107
103
London, UK
I gave mine All kinds of food as well but not super amount.
Chicken feed + sweet corns + what ever greens in the fridge + warm oat porridge + leftovers cooked rice + mealworms.
They will stop eating when they had enough. Definitely. Maybe not for mealworms, they will fight for it and eat as much as possible:)

I have 4 hens at the moment, 1 hen is from a different hatch so she is at the bottom of the ranking. She has to wait until the 3s had enough and walk away. I like to give them a pile of straw and hide some food inside for them to scratch. And yes, the little yellow ones has to wait for that as well, she is not allowed to join when others are playing.

Few month ago, I had a broiler and she was completely different. She will eat and eat and eat. I only give her twice a day. Despite that, she become huge and sadly her feet cannot support her any more.
 

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Athena2344

Songster
Aug 7, 2016
699
631
206
San Antonio, Tx
That's why broilers are called broilers, they are designed to get big and be eaten, not become pets. They hardly if ever lay eggs, they are only good for meat regardless of sex.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
22,961
37,486
1,096
southern Michigan
It's about moderation, so goodies are fine, to a point. I'd like to live on steak and strawberries too, but I can't. They should have free choice (unlimited) access to a good all-flock feed, and separate oyster shell. Then some other stuff. Doling out their balanced diet is not a good idea!!!
Your daily extras sound like a lot for only two older hens; I think you should cut back on the amounts!
Mary
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,195
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
As long as they are not becoming obese, spoil away. The treats you are offering other than perhaps the bread are quite healthy. Generally no more than 10 % or so of their diets should be treats, but the same is true of us. :idunno

The photo that accompanies this post shows how a chicken carries its fat. can you imagine how hard it must be for a hen to force her eggs past this much fat? So sourland is correct about the danger that obesity poses to a hen.
vent fat.jpg
 

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~ Dreaming Of Springtime ~
Aug 18, 2017
5,547
19,908
707
Caliente Nevada
I seriously cut back on the extras I give my birds. Having fat egg bound hens knowing I caused it was something that made me pause. My rule of thumb is if it’s not gone in three minutes then it’s too much. They also can suffer with long term health problems by filling up on treats instead of their feed. Someone described it as a child that only eats the marshmallows out of the lucky charms and leaves the cereal that is nutritious.
I too make “chickens salad” everyday. All my extra’s are quality. No bread.
I’ve also had a binge eater that had a
Pendulous crop. So....many problems come from over eating ....I mean just look at humans.
I changed many things and guess what...they love me just the same. Best wishes
 

Grammieshens

In the Brooder
Aug 20, 2018
31
22
35
I guess my question is, how do you know if you are overfeeding? I give my six Orpingtons treats in the morning and evening. In the morning they get one of these: warm oatmeal (on cold days), banana, blueberries, or greek yogurt. In the evening: cooked squash or green beans, sunflower seeds, meal worms or cooked eggs. I use the treat to get them back into their run after free ranging for a limited amount of time. (I cannot let them free range unless I am with them because of visiting hawks). I also leave their feed out at all times, and they eat their portions of that as well. Also, their feed does not contain corn or soy and they refuse to eat anything green other than green beans. lol.
 

MANNA-PRO

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