an Immediate Drop in feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by digitS', Jan 30, 2009.

  1. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    18
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    The hens changed the amount of feed they consumed yesterday, apparently, just because of a little sunshine & warmth.

    After over 2 weeks without a single minute above freezing, it made it up to 37°F yesterday afternoon. Mostly, the weather hasn't been very cold this month but day after day of freezing fog. Days passed without even a glimpse of the sun.

    Late yesterday morning, the sun came out [​IMG]. There was no wind and as the weak sunlight warmed the air, you could almost feel a sigh of relief from all the critters outdoors.

    The hens have been out every day lately but there's not much for them to eat out in the yard but they do seem to enjoy the exercise. So, it's commercial feed and the treats coming from the kitchen.

    The feed is weighed at the feed bag everyday so that I don't over-do the treats. They have to "clean their plates" (1/4 pound of Flock Raiser, each) before getting some usually pretty healthy kitchen stuff. Keeping track of 4 hens is a simple matter - they gotta eat 1 pound of feed before dessert in the evening.

    Just because they came so close to their "required" 1/4 pound/hen of the Flock Raiser, I went back and weighed their treat container to see how much I'd given them in the previous 24 hours - less than 3 ounces each.

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised that they each ate less than one-half pound of food yesterday but you gotta realize how much these 7 pound hens were packing away [​IMG]! Okay, now you might like to know what figure was . . . I don't know. It felt like I was feeding stuff out of the kitchen by the shovelful !

    On another note: yesterday was the 1st time I've seen the hens out on their sunporch (in the dark) after 5 PM. They must not have wanted the pleasant afternoon to end [​IMG].

    After another foggy morning - the sun's out!!

    Steve
     
  2. l'oeuf

    l'oeuf New Egg

    9
    0
    7
    Dec 30, 2008
    Lakewood, CO
    Hi Steve,

    That's good to know, as I was sort of wondering the same thing with our hens this past weekend, which was much warmer than the week earlier- perhaps they didn't need as much to keep warm...
    -Vanessa
     
  3. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mine are the same, they're voracious on bitter cold days and today they are eating lightly ( +5C). At least we know they're turing the calories into heat to keep warm when they must. Amazing metabolism.[​IMG]
     
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    18
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    The slightly warmer weather continues here - water in the coop doesn't freeze with the pop door open the last few days.

    Feed consumption increased by about one-third when freezing weather showed up in the Fall. But, it seems to me that there's only so much that they CAN eat. With my pigeons, it was impressive but chickens just don't seem to be able to eat half their weight in food each day [​IMG].

    About 6 weeks ago, I began weighing their feed and then guessing how much in the way of scratch and kitchen scraps would hold consumption at one-quarter pound/hen/day. It was really an easy thing to do and a good way to save some $$. They had as much of the feed as they wanted but every 24 hours, I could make a good guess how many treats they could have.

    This evening, they've got a little leftover roast beef and some coarse cabbage leaves. Yesterday, they had cooked carrot peelings and a little gravy. But right now, a plate full of treats would mean that they would be eating less than one-quarter pound of their feed. (Probably be okay anyway - pretty healthy food at the kitchen table [but I ain't inviting them in [​IMG]]).

    Steve
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by