1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Approximately how much feed should we be going through?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by SusanD, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi,

    My three 7 month old chickens (2 layers and one that hasn't laid yet) went through a 20 pound bag of feed in little over two months. Assuming a rate of 1.5 lbs per week, I would be expected to go through 36 lbs of feed. Is this rate too high, or should I be concerned about the amount they are getting?

    I expect that they have been supplementing their feed with the occasional treat my parents give them, oyster shell, grass clippings from when my Dad mows the lawn, and leaves. The also have a tendency to nibble at less desirable things such as shavings and straw.

    The two layers have been remarkably consistent about laying a hardshell egg every day.

    They seem to be maintaining their weight/sizes, but not growing more. The production RIR is a bit on the smallish side (when I picked her up tonight, she felt like a crop with a bird attached instead of the other way around).

    Thanks,

    Susan
     
  2. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

    22,961
    3,133
    456
    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Personally i would not worry about feed consumption - if they have constant access to food then don't sweat it. If you have not, you may wish to consider de-worming them - some people do it a couple of times a year, others only when they see worms in their poop.

    CT
     
  3. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi,

    I agree it might be worth having them fecal sampled to see if they need worm medicine

    Is deworming something that has to be periodically to done to keep chickens healthy? I was hoping that we would never have to do it. The reason being that I had this conversation with my mother, and she said that she would never eat another egg from them if we did (same thing for antibiotics). So, I think that with my Mom's fears, we might be looking at rehoming them if we did have to give them medicine. However, I'm not sure how realistic it is to think that we can get by without it forever.

    Thanks,

    Susan
     
  4. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

    22,961
    3,133
    456
    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hi Susan,

    Be in no doubt that if you keep you chickens, you will need to treat them. All medicines indicate a "no egg eating" number of days, so thats not really an issue in terms of safety.

    It is totally unrealistic to expect not to have to treat your flock for worms, and other ailments. Its best that you re-home your chickens in my opinion.

    All the best
    CT
     
  5. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks,

    I think I will check with a local poultry vet and see what's recommended for my area. That should hopefully give me an idea of what needs to be done with them, and will share with my parents.
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    16,793
    3,083
    456
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    Susan, worming, like many other aspects of chicken keeping is a personal decision. There is no one right way to do it. Any one who tells you that their way is the only way, is not looking at the whole picture. Some folks worm their birds on a self chosen schedule, which includes a withdrawal time depending on the medication used. Other folks choose to wait, and either have a fecal float test determine that their birds have a worm load, or they wait till they see signs of worms in the chicken's feces. Then they worm their flocks. Other folks use any number of natural remedies which may include garlic, pumpkin seeds, and small amounts of worm wood, as well as any number of natural plants/herbs that are reputed to be anti-helminthics. Most of these folks might mix up a potion several times/year, or might use them at first sign of worms. Some folks just keep plenty of these plants available for free choice. Then, there's the soap crowd. Old time farmers used plain old soap to worm all of their critters. Some cattle keepers use Basic H, or an other mild soap to worm their herds. Old timer house wives would toss the dish water out the back door, where the chickens would eagerly pick out the bits and pieces from the bottom of the dish pan, thus getting a bit of soap to cleanse the gut. Mind you... the old timer soap wasn't loaded with all the garbage that you'll find in any of the dish soap you buy today! Then, there's the philosophy that parasites are a normal event, even in the human gut. A certain load of parasites is totally asymptomatic. Any more than that in a chicken, according to this crowd... means it's time to cull that particular bird. Thus, they cull the birds that have unhealthy loads, leaving the rest to continue to produce a flock that is more resistant to parasites in the long term.

    See my above post.

    Good place to start, though I doubt that you will ever find a poultry vet. You might find a vet who will treat a chicken, but... that may not even be the case. Also, keep in mind that most vets ascribe to the theory that all worms must be eradicated. You could certainly take in a sample for a fecal float test. That should not be a prohibitive cost. You might want to do some telephone price checking!
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    HI,

    I'm fortunate in that we have one in our area that I've already established a client relationship with [​IMG] For what its worth, I think I do agree with the treat when there's a problem approach, so would probably want to do the fecal testing first.

    Thanks,

    Susan
     
  8. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,418
    190
    208
    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    To answer the question in you title. A chicken will eat between 1/4 to 1/3 pound of food a day. Your three will eat maybe a pound a day. Remember if they are eating other things like treats, table scraps or can range around to find some on their own the amount of feed eaten will be less. So going through twenty pounds in two months sounds like they are getting a lot of food other then feed. I never worm my chickens. Can't say they don't have them, but they aren't skinny or showing any other sign that they have worms.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for your replies. I will keep an eye on them to make sure that are not showing any signs of a problem, and will definitely treat if one develops.

    Susan
     
  10. phryan

    phryan Chillin' With My Peeps

    71
    10
    51
    Jun 9, 2014
    If your birds can free range that feed level doesn't seem far off from mine. During the summer a 50lbs bag will last my flock of 20 nearly 3 weeks (.12lbs per bird-day). They can free range and are rotated to different areas every few weeks, they can and will strip a 10x40ft area bare in about a week.

    During the winter when there is no foraging, the same bag will last 7-10 days(.25-.36lbs per bird-day).
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by