Are they getting enough food?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by frankenchick, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. frankenchick

    frankenchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2007
    Benton Twp., Michigan
    I currently have 12 hens. Each morning, I give them 8 cups of DuMor 16% layer crumbles. I also throw in some goodies, hoping to forestall fighting. In summer, when they have grass and bugs, I cut this back (actually, I may need to adjust now, since I lost 2 hens last week to a hawk [​IMG] and am still feeding like I have 14).

    My Q is: does giving them ample food ensure that everyone gets some, or will the top girls pig it (no offense) and not leave any for the bottom girls? I ask because I noticed some poops that look like the kind they'll make when they're underfed (acc. to Aunt Sally's pictures).
  2. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    I would keep food available for them all day. That way once the dominant ones are done the lessers can eat to their fill.

  3. Sequin

    Sequin Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2008
    Yeah, have to agree. If there is only so much the dominant hens will eat it before the others really get their needs filled. If you are worried keep a large feeder filled so there is enough to go around for all.
  4. dianer29

    dianer29 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2009
    I put two food vessels in their run to control crowding and hen pecking.,way the ones toward bottom of order can have a better chance at food. I observe feeding time as I am home with them . It allows me to watch and learn about my flock and possibly assit those that need me.
  5. I ALWAYS over feed. Plenty of poultry grain, Plenty of layer crumbles and pellets (mixed), Plenty of game feed for the Guineas and LOTS AND LOTS of fresh, clean, cool water every day, no exceptions.

    I catch the polish hens eating at night and I am guessing they are attempting to catch up on the days feed.

    Every one has big crops for the evening sleep and in the morning they CAN NOT WAIT to get the morning throw of scratch on the barn floor. I use it to take a head count.

    I change the water, even if it does not need it. Every one seems happy and healthy. The Guins eat and drink right along with the chickens, The roos and the hens are always peaceful and content at morning feed.

    I spend quite a bit of time in preparations with my feed. I try very hard to go through ALL the feed in the bin and put new feed in without mixing old and new.

    I keep a spare 50 # bag in an enclosed sterilite bin so i do not run out.

    I feel it is just as important for chickens to enjoy their meals and drink as it is for us. After the morning feed each individual does their thing. Some go out for the day and others enjoy the barn.

    I rarely have rooster fights and I rarely have a Guinea after any chickens. Not saying it does not happen, just rarely.

    Once you get the feed in place and know when you are going to need the next 150 pounds from the feed store it actually is so much easier than a hit and miss approach.
  6. Kim_NC

    Kim_NC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2009
    Mt Airy, NC
    We feed free choice. We keep their feeders full of layer pellets at all times. They free range and eat what they want of the pellets. This way everyone is assured of getting enough to eat. They will not overeat on pellets. Scratch and corn are more like candy though and they'll tend to gorge more on them.

    We feed scratch and other treats in very small quanitities once or twice per day. We scatter those so that everybody gets some.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  7. adkchickmama

    adkchickmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2009
    Not to hi-jack this thread , but since we are talking about feed, I like to give the girls scratch in the winter for warmth (corn). Should I be making a "custom" mix of wheat and seeds instead for better nutritional value? [​IMG]
  8. Amethyste

    Amethyste For Love of Boo...

    I figure they wil stop when they are full. I keep food/water out inside the coop 24/7 for them so everyone has a chance to have some. If I dont, the dominant hen <Mercedes> and her sister <Esther> will monopolize the food. I catch the lower ranked ones going inside to eat while others are outside so I know they are eating. I also watch during the treats to make sure that everyone gets some as well....the bigger girls are pigs and will push the others away to get to the treats.
  9. frankenchick

    frankenchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2007
    Benton Twp., Michigan
    Thanks for the input. I've been considering using the PVC-pipe gravity feeders -- I think I'd need 3. I'm going to start a separate post about that, though.

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