Amount of Feed Daily

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by zumzumfoxy, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. zumzumfoxy

    zumzumfoxy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2011
    Hey all!

    My 6 girls go through a freezer-bag full of feed thrice a day (almost 24 lbs of feed, shell & grit- almost 8 lbs of feed, 4z grit and 8z shell...).

    Is this too much? Is it too little?? It seems to be enough for them for now, but they seem to be running out of feed more and my 50lb bags are starting to dwindle fast! [​IMG]

    What's the ideal amount of food they should be having per day? How do you guys deal with it?

  2. Yonaton

    Yonaton Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2007
    West TN
    Quote:You're not very clear...are you saying they eat 24 pounds of feed per day *and* 4 oz of grit *and* 8 oz of shell?

    If you're raising them to give you eggs, the best thing you can do is feed them all they can eat, all day long. The shell and grit are optional depending on where they're cooped - inside or outside. If outside, they'll usually get/find enough pebbles/sand to do the need and you can stop buying grit. The shell, IMO, is a waste of money, again depending on the type of feed though too.

    It seems *to me*, my opinion again, that you may not have done the homework needed *before* buying some chickens as to their health needs and are just now finding out that feed isn't cheap nor are those accesories like grit and shell.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2011
  3. emmak

    emmak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2010
    North Central Texas
    I have 4 hens and I was feeding them with a container that had constant feed in it. Recently, I noticed that the feed was disappearing more rapidly. After killing two rats in the yard and checking the feed for rat feces I realized that I was helping to raise rats as well as chickens. So now I am dishing out feed for them every morning. I also provide scratch and kitchen scraps as a treat. I have oyster shell that I put out about 3 times a week, just to provide extra strength for egg shells. The amount I am providing is based on how much they eat. I don't want to let excess food lay around in the run while my hens are asleep. This just provides food for rats or other animals I don't want.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2011
  4. ragnar1107

    ragnar1107 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 28, 2011
    Elkhorn Wisconsin
    6 birds, I've got 35 and yes it's amazing how much they can eat. Unless you've got cornish x rocks food should be freely offered. Have you tried a local grain mill they often have food cheaper than farm and fleet or tractor supply. But make sure they are getting the proper nutrition (protein) in any feed you buy. I don't know why you have chickens whether is for meat, eggs or both but you have to research breeds to get the best possible conversion of food to productivity.
  5. WalkerH

    WalkerH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yeah if you are feeding 24 lbs a day that is a whole lot more then needed. I read somewhere about .3 lbs per chicken per day is what they need. And don't worry about not learning everything before you got them, you can't possibly know everything beforehand, sometimes hands on experience is good.
  6. so lucky

    so lucky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 31, 2011
    SE Missouri
    I don't see any way a chicken could consistently eat 4 pounds of feed per day, plus 2 ounces of grit and shell. Surely there is something else going on here! Rats or other vermin could explain the feed disappearing, but they wouldn't take the grit and shell. Are there a lot of wild birds, sparrows, etc, that get into the run? (Not a good explanation, I know, but I'm trying!) I have 5 five month old chickens, and together they only go through about a pound of feed per day, maybe a pound and a half. They do get some other food, too, and a couple hours of foraging per day, but free choice on the laying crumbles. Hope you find out what is going on, cause at that rate, your eggs would be worth about $10.00 each![​IMG]
  7. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    Quote:Oh, now there's some superb advice. Next you should tell people to go ahead and buy dogs, cats, horses, goats, heck, why not adopt a kid or two too before learning anything about how to feed them. Let's see...first few days they starve, so get that fixed and the next week they get so fat they colic. Nope, not good either. Hmmm...maybe I should go on some forum somewhere and ask how to do this?

    Yeah, great advice you gave.

    Wow, very helpful. R U an expert??? I think you prolly R.
  8. Barnmaradotte

    Barnmaradotte Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2011
    And now, back to your regularly scheduled program.
    I'm thinking something else is eating at your expense. I have 8 hens and a 40lb bag last dang near a month. Yea I do let them free range most evenings and that does make the feed last.
  9. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2011
    edited out my earlier comment, as I think Barnmaradotte's right about the regularly scheduled programming.

    I have a mixed flock so I can't tell you what part of the feed goes to the chickens (I've also got turkeys, ducks, geese, guineas) and they free range all day, so they're suplementing their feed on their own. I feed a 22% crumble, scratch or cracked corn (depending on the price), and have oyster shell available free choice. the amount I feed depends on how quickly they clean it up after a day of foraging (I feed at the end of the day.) I put out 2 large scoops of crumbles and 2 large scoops of scratch or cracked corn and then see if they clean it up. if they finish it before they start to wander off, I put out another scoop of each. these are the large feed scoops you get at the feed store, maybe the size of a large coffee can. here's what I'm feeding with that: 5 turkeys, 4 geese, 11 ducks, 7 chickens, 5 guineas. I don't put out grit because they free range and should be able to pick up plenty on their own. they also get occasional table scraps, but we don't have much of that.

    the second thing I track is their body condition... if they're staying in good weight, they're getting enough between foraging and feed to be fine. I bought the chickens as adults about 2 months ago, already laying, and they were really thin when I got them. in 2 months, while they haven't gotten to "fat", they've picked up some weight, and they are laying significantly larger eggs. the turkeys are in medium weight as are the ducks, and the geese are bordering on fat. the guineas are hard to tell... they're hard to catch and don't like being handled. these are all breeding stock birds, so I'm not trying to fatten them for fall meals, if I was, I'd put feed out all the time for the dinner birds.

    it sounds as if you're feeding nearly as much as I am, and for far fewer birds. some of that difference is the free range factor, however I think you're probably feeding something besides chickens to go through that much daily.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
  10. PegramPoultryProprietor

    PegramPoultryProprietor Out Of The Brooder

    May 21, 2010
    Ok, first I would like to say I am completing my first 18 months of chicken raising since I was a child and most of what I have learned is what NOT to do. Don’t let anyone run you down the road for not being an expert poultry owner; they were new once too and forgot they had to ask for advice. I admire you for being honest about you dilemma and knowledge so you can get on the right track. I don’t agree with open continuous feeding. There is plenty of info about the reduced laying and health problems of fat and lazy hens. (I also have some of these). As all breeds eat differently I have taken the approach of feed and watch. See just what they are eating and how much. If during the morning feeding they finish everything and are still anxious to feed you might increase the amount, if there is a lot leftover, put less out. I don’t mix anything with the feed but I do keep a container of hard shell available and they pick at it regularly; same with grit. I found out early on there was a lot of waste if you are letting them feed and scratch food out on the ground. I now use a second pan under all the feeders so they get a second chance to eat it before it goes to waste. Keep at it and remember: Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from poor judgment.

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