Chickens not eating well?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Scout Finch, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. Scout Finch

    Scout Finch Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2013
    My hens don't seem to be eating well. I do let them out to free range for about 3 hours every evening, but I doubt they are getting much. I did buy a different brand of feed recently but I wouldn't think chickens are picky!? Is it normal for chickens to eat less in the winter? Or could they possibly be scrounging up more outside the pen in those few hours than I realize?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    They eat more in winter because of the need for more energy.
    What's your climate? Where do you live?

    They aren't likely to get much nutrition in a pen.
    Pristine pasture in warm weather = greens, bugs and seeds. Then they don't eat as much feed.

    How many chickens, how much are they eating and what makes up their feed?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  3. Scout Finch

    Scout Finch Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2013
    I'm feeding them layer crumbles that I buy at the local feed store.

    I give them as much as they can eat, but they aren't eating much.

    They get out to free range for 3 hours a day. I live in NC.

    They are definitely not eating more this winter. I don't know what might be wrong or what I can do?
     
  4. Scout Finch

    Scout Finch Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2013
    Oh...and 3 hens.
     
  5. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It may all be relative.

    How much is not much? right now I have 7 hens and am going through approx. 10lb a week of food. So if I only had 3 hens I'd be using less then 5lb a week. Figure around 1/4-1/3lb per bird per day. If you are expecting them to eat 1/2lb per bird and they only eat 1/4 then it seems like not much but is probably enough. If they are eating any of their food then they are probably eating as much as they want/need right now. If they were not eating any of their food then I would worry, but as long as they are eating it I would not worry about the amount too much especially if they get out to free range

    Are they laying eggs or too young yet, that makes a difference as well.

    What are they free ranging on? Is it a manicured suburban lawn or old farm land or pasture? The type of free range makes a difference.
     
  6. Scout Finch

    Scout Finch Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2013
    They have free run of my yard/pasture/woods when they are out for those hours. Yes, they are eating some...so maybe they just don't like the new brand of feed as much as they old one. I am getting 2 eggs a day right now (not sure if one isn't laying or if they are alternating days). I'm not sure of the amount they are eating...I don't really measure it. I just make sure they have food available at all times. I will start paying more attention.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    You're doing fine.
    If they have food available (and it is fresh) they'll eat when they're hungry.
    Sometimes changes in feed aren't instantly accepted.

    Check the packing date on your feed. It will be stamped either on the ingredient tag or the seal on the top or bottom of the bag.
     

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