Can chickens over eat themselves?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Xephyr, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. Xephyr

    Xephyr Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi there
    So I normally steam up veggies and chop lettuce/cabbage etc. tomatoes whatever I have and throw it all into a big casserole dish for my 4 chickens.
    My husband was concerned that I was going to over feed them ---like they were like goldfish that you can over feed and kill.

    Is that true?
    They really love their casseroles

    :)
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Generally unless they are broilers they will not eat themselves to death, but you are dealing with living animals. They don’t come with guarantees. I had a Speckled Sussex cockerel that did eat himself to death by 10 weeks of age. But that is really rare. Most of them stop eating when their crop is full and go off to digest that before they eat again.

    What is of more concern is that they need a balanced diet. And they tend to eat the things they like more than purposely selecting a balanced diet. Think how some people, not always kids, will eat candy if it is available instead of their meat and veggies if left to their own devices. While your casserole is full of good things for them, not like candy, they are still missing out on certain nutrients if they eat your casserole instead of eating mostly their chicken feed.

    A general rule of thumb is that if they can clean up their treats in 15 to 20 minutes their diet will remain balanced so maybe that is a target you should shoot for when giving them the casserole.

    I’ll admit I don’t follow that rule of thumb myself when I give them excess from my garden. But one day it might be excess kale, next day tomatoes, next day something else. It’s varied, not the same thing every day.
     
  3. Xephyr

    Xephyr Out Of The Brooder

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    They eat lots of their standard feed too.
    Plus I throw Happy Hen treats over the top
     
  4. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    My girls have their staple feed available 24/7.

    Whenever a treat is offered, they rush it as if they were starving.

    A treat is just that though.

    I never give more than 10%, so as not to upset their nutritional requirements, met with their staple feed.
     
  5. Eggmachine11

    Eggmachine11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And is somewhat possible.Winter is a time when food gets rough,so protein is hard to find.
    You have to control what they eat as well,and how much.There are even plants that cause them to feel up,and eventual make them sick in the stomach.I have fed so much,they become tired and stress.

    Chickens will eat and eat and eat until they can't,which is normally too late.
     
  6. Urban Flock

    Urban Flock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are a lot of health reasons to not feed to many treats. The list is pretty long. I would limit treats. Like another member said you are feeding healthy things but they are not full of nutrition. If they fill up on the yummy casserole then they will eat less of their feed.
     
  7. Eggmachine11

    Eggmachine11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Treats can cause a minimum of things,but certain treats can cause certain issue.Casserole could probably cause a large health issue,over time.Obesity.
    Obesity is very bad for chickens.They can't walk,they likely can't lay,and obesity can cause egg binding which is very bad.Bread,and corn can cause obesity.I don't think treats need limited,they just need to be something good.Veggies are fine.
     
  8. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Corn will most likely will never cause obesity in chickens.
    Reason being corn is a high energy feedstuff and chickens eat to fill a set caloric need.
    Once that set caloric need is met the chicken will stop eating until that need is met again.
     
  9. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chris09, what about bread?
     
  10. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    All chickens have a set caloric intake, layers is somewhat lower than a meat type chicken and that's why some meat type chicken tend to put on a little extra fat off of corn or when fed a feed designed for laying breeds.
    Chickens don't really fatten up on high amounts of corn the way that other livestock do because of this "caloric switch" and the rate that a chicken can burn off the calories that is in corn. Remember the average 16% chicken feed is around 70% corn that's 35 pounds of corn in a 50 pound of feed.
     

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