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!

Are chickens smart enough to know when to stop eating?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Sunny Chicks, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. Sunny Chicks

    Sunny Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    103
    2
    84
    May 18, 2013
    Currently, I'm getting hit with a snowstorm that's going to go until Friday night! As for my flock, I haven't opened the pop door and I won't until the snow stops. It's 10 degrees farenheit, and I wanted to bring my chickens about 2 or 3 cups of warm oatmeal. If I give it to them all at once, would they just keep eating and eating it and kill themselves because they didn't stop or take a break? Any ideas on how I can make them not eat so quickly?
    Thank you!
     
  2. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,242
    208
    208
    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Chickens are actually very good at regulating their own nutrition and food intake when given healthy food choices. It's instinct. It might look like they are eating lot or eating quickly but their digestive system is actually designed for this, as their ancestors lived on a scavenger diet.

    The food will collect in their crop -- an organ meant to be able to expand to hold a large meal, like a storage tank-- and then will slowly make its way through their gizzard where it is ground up by little rocks (grit!) and then digested through their intestines.

    Most birds will eat a lot in the morning when they are the hungriest and then graze all day. They go to bed with a full crop and digest food through the night, waking up with an empty crop and feeling hungry. rinse and repeat.

    I would not worry about them over eating. And, as long as they have a balanced diet they should keep themselves at a healthy weight even when feed freely. Also, I am not sure how many birds you have but 2-3 cups of oatmeal as an occasional snack does not sound like a huge amount? I just wouldnt give them the instant kind that is full of sweeteners. Any kind of plain oats would be fine.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
  3. The Farm

    The Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    961
    38
    118
    Oct 16, 2013
    Luther, OK
    Yes be careful about feeding they a lot of oatmeal at once they can over eat on it and choke.
     
  4. Sunny Chicks

    Sunny Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    103
    2
    84
    May 18, 2013
    Great! Thank you. That was quite helpful. I have 13 pullets, but the birds higher up on the pecking order will block some of the other hens out of the way of getting to the food. Thank you again :)
     
  5. StruckBy

    StruckBy Chillin' With My Peeps

    146
    22
    108
    Apr 2, 2012
    Marcola, OR

    x2.
    I have never done anything other than free-feed and have never ever had a problem. Even given access to something that is a huge treat (like when they figured out how to fly up to the cat food which was in a big tub) they gorged until they were full then ambled away. That said, I don't know that I'd go with something gooey that they can get on their feathers & freeze before they can preen themselves. As long as their water is thawed & they have plenty of regular feed they'll be fine.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,242
    208
    208
    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    If you want to give snack and try to give all the birds an equal chance at it you can always try dividing it up into 2 or 3 portions and placing them on opposite ends of the coop or run. That way the cool kids cant guard the only bowl.
     
  7. Sunny Chicks

    Sunny Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    103
    2
    84
    May 18, 2013
    Yeah, I thought of doing that. We tried a large, shallow platter but it didn't work so well. One of the leghorns was standing right in the middle of the oatmeal, and slipping around. Next time I'll divide it up into portions.
     
  8. WhiteLeghorn2

    WhiteLeghorn2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    256
    17
    108
    Aug 8, 2013
    100% agree. Chickens (And most animals, not all animals) were designed to forage and they know exactly how much to eat. Oatmeal should not be a problem.
    Good luck and I hope your girls enjoy their treat!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by