Cold Weather Feeding

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by centrarchid, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I keep most of my adult birds penned up during winter. I do not expect egg production from most to be used as brood fowl until early spring so those animals are given a restricted ration with respect to use of a 20% crude protein base diet that would supply all nutrient needs when weather is warm. The amount applied varies with weight of bird (most are confined individually). Additionally I apply a mixture of three grains scratch and whole corn (3 parts scratch to 1 part corn) at a variable rate such that overall, total diet crude protein typically varies in the range of 15 to 18% when weather is mild but when temperature drops the application of scratch and corn portion increases such that birds have full crop going onto roost with minimal uneaten feed left on ground overnight. When conditions are particulalry cold this results in a crude protein intake that gets down around 12% which means more than half of intake is of the scratch / corn mixture. This system requires frequent observations during feedings and occasional weight checks to ensure birds are not over or under fed. When the temperatures gets really cold I see a difference between males and females. Females increase feed intake a little as repressented by the scratch and corn but males eat a lot more. Additionally when I am out late the males come down off roost while most hens stay on roost. What is interesting is that males are much more enthusiastic about food when temperatures drop while females seem to go a route where they are more concerned with conserving heat and thus do not eat as much.

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