Chickens Eating Food at Ridiculous Speed!!!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Chicks Galore3, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

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    I have 16 chickens...and they ate FIFTY pounds of All Flock food in SIX days!!!!! Is it just me...or is that a lot of food?!?! I set up my game cam last night to see if would catch anything on it. I'm guessing it might be mice or rats. I know my coop is definitely not mouse-proof. Not sure about rat-proof. I'm going to set my live and not-so-live mouse traps and start taking in the food at night. Do you think mice are the problem and do you think I am doing enough to fix it?
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Your suspicions are likely correct. You're losing your feed to other rodents, most likely.
    It is also likely that this gorging by the rats/mice is occurring at night.

    Feed your birds a healthy portion, in a trough type feeder in the early morning. Make the portion adequate for what they'll eat during the day, but not so much that they cannot finish it by mid afternoon. A 4 pound, dry weight container will make a good measuring scoop, or 4, one pound scoops into a feed bucket. Just before roosting time, toss a bit of grain or pellets that they can gobble up completely just before going to roost so that they are "full" for the night time.

    An adult, large fowl hen will only eat 4-5 ounces of feed per day. With 16 hens, you should be feeding 4 pounds per day, plus anything you wish to supplement, such as a wee bit of scratch, another 1/2 pound between them all. That's it.

    Thus, a 50 pound bag of feed should last more than 12 days, on average.
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    That many chickens go through 30 to 40 pounds of dry feed in bulk feeders here in a week. They may be wasting a lot.
    Two things that help are putting a container under the feeder so as they bill it out, the basin catches it. Fermenting feed prevents the waste as well.

    Mice or wild birds can be a big problem as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  4. Chemguy

    Chemguy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been battling with starlings the past few weeks. They will clean out a full feeder (about 8 lb of feed) in less than 30 minutes, and leave a telltale coating of pellet shaped, chickenfeed-colored poop everywhere. Despite the starling hoarde, I've seen through observing a feeder that is inaccessible to them that my birds are consuming much more feed than they have been in the past several weeks. So, perhaps you're dealing with both types of issues; scavengers and increased consumption.
     
  5. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

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    Thanks you all for the suggestions! I am expecting them to eat more since they aren't free ranging but I figured that much was a bit over board. I'll measure the feed and set out a catch tray, though the trough is pretty deep.
     
  6. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I feed only in the coop so as to avoid wild birds getting into their food. There have been times I've had a feeder outside during the day but I always brought in at night to keep from attracting rodents and predators. I've only got 8 hens so it might be easier for me to do that than for others.

    I also ferment most of their feed and that seems to help reduce consumption as they are able to more easily process the nutrients from the food. They don't need to eat as much with fermented feed as they're getting more from it.
     
  7. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

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    I've been thinking about fermenting feed, but I'm not sure how go about that, and if it would be feasible for 16 chickens.
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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  9. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

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    I'll have to check that out! Thank you!
     
  10. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

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    Well...that looks super duper easy! I'm going to try that...I'll probably make four pounds at a time and see how much they eat.
     

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