Can you overfeed chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Chickenowner86, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. Chickenowner86

    Chickenowner86 New Egg

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  2. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WELCOME TO BACKYARD CHICKENS!!!

    I think from what you described, they are just excited because someone is caring for them now. Looks like you have 2 Red Sex Links. They Iook pretty and healthy in the pic. Usually they will eat until their crop is full.
     
  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Hi there!
    The concern is not so much over-feeding as it is feeding too much of one part of their diet and causing them to eat too little of the other. Treats (this includes scraps) should be only about 10% of the overall intake - with the balanced commercial feed making up the primary portion. This is especially important if you are feeding a lower protein feed (ie layer ration which tends to average 16%) because most of the scraps, veggies, etc that we offer our birds are low protein foods and when fed in an abundance can have a significant impact on the overall balance of your flock's nutrition.
    The behavior issue is something that you can address. Because you are concerned about safety for your children you will want to rework how you approach the feeding of those high value treats.
     
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  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Yes, you can over feed them. Chickens are like dogs. They'll eat... and eat... and eat, and still be looking for more. If you've butchered home grown chickens, you'll quickly notice that some of them are over fed. They will easily have 1 - 2 # of fat in the abdominal cavity, and a fatty liver as well. All of this abdominal fat can make it difficult to pass an egg.
     
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  5. ChickenRisa

    ChickenRisa Out Of The Brooder

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    I did notice when I was feeding my chickens a lot of pulp from our juicer their poop got really runny which then sticks to their feathers around their vent. My mom told me that chickens with poopy bums can attract flies who lay eggs in the poop and when the larva hatches it burrows into the chicken's skin around their vent. She had a chicken that this happened to and they had to cull her. That being said I still give my girls fruit and veggie scraps when we have them, I just try to make sure I am not feeding them lots of scraps all the time and back off if I see runny poops.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'm only going to chime in on the behavior part. Chickens can be trained not to jump on you or snatch food from you just like any animal. My background is with horses, and you learn real quick to enforce manners in an animal that weighs a thousand pounds [​IMG]. Just like I won't let my big mare push me around for food, I don't let my chickens. Little kids can come and hand feed my horses safely, cause they've been taught manners. Start doing that with your chickens. If they jump at you, first of don't give them food right away, it simply reinforces their behavior. Firmly push them away, I usually use my foot and the word "shoo". Do that until they maintain a respectful distance, then feed them. Do this consistently and you'll have respectful birds. They won't be frightened of you, just have good manners and your kids will be able to enjoy them instead of being afraid of getting pushed around.
     
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  7. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    YES!!!!
    Manners at meal time is usually one of the first lessons a horse (or any animal) gets when they arrive on our property - if for no other reason than generally a meal is going to be happening before the first work session and because that seems to be one of those places many people tolerate misbehavior, which given the danger level is mystifying to me. Any animal without proper manners is a menace.....there is nothing cute or endearing to me about a pushy, rude animal whether they weigh five pounds or 1500. Be firm, be fair and, most of all, be consistent! Every interaction you have with them is training, be sure you aren't inadvertently training bad behavior.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
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  8. ChickenRisa

    ChickenRisa Out Of The Brooder

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    Absolutrely, I will third the importance of manners in any kind of pet!
     
  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Your information above is 110% incorrect.....

    Chicken will eat until they meet there caloric need, then they stop..
    Do some research on the subject and you will find out that chickens don't over eat when fed a good feed and fed correctly..
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It’s normal for a hen that is laying to have excess fat, especially in the vent area but some is spread throughout their body. Do a search on ”fat pad”. That’s nature’s way of allowing them to go broody and spend practically all their time on the nest instead of being out searching for food. They still need some food and water but mostly they live off of that stored fat. Some hens store a lot more than others.

    It is possible for a chicken to be too fat. Fatty Liver Syndrome is real. But that is not because they are eating too much volume. It’s because they are eating too much of the wrong thing. A good balanced diet with treats limited to about 10% of their overall food is a good rule of thumb to follow.
     
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