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Do Chickens Eat Less In The Winter???

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by TwoCrows, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Winter has arrived this past week with cold days and nights. Temps at night in the teens, with wind chills in the single digits. The day time highs in the 30's. Today the temp never got out of the 20's, frozen fog, dusting of snow on the ground and we are expecting a foot of snow over night.

    I have noticed a huge drop off of the girls eating their layer feed this past week. Every day it got less and less and today they have not even touched it. With the cold temps and windchill today, they have been hanging out in the greenhouse picking around in the dirt. I can not even tempt them with wetting down the layer feed. Even some treats they are turning up their beaks at. Out of 4 girls, I am still getting 3 eggs a day however.

    You would think they would need to eat more to stay warm...so why are they eating less and less these past days and nothing today? Is this normal or is there something wrong with the feed??
     
  2. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine are eating less as well. But I'm getting no eggs. Some are in various stages of molt, which at the worst point seems to make them a bit crabby, so that could be why. I'm not really sure. Mine still go for mealworms and BOSS tho.
     
  3. GardenState38

    GardenState38 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens require more energy in winter to keep their core body temperature up. Thus, they should be eating more, especially if the temperature is dropping down into the freezing zone.
    If anything, they eat less in the summertime, in extreme heat.
    Is the greenhouse warmer than the location where their food is stored?
    If so, they may be unwilling to leave the greenhouse warmth or shelter from wind in order to access their food.

    Maybe try wetting down their food with warm water? If it's 30 degrees out, cold, wet mash wouldn't be too tempting to me, either.
     
  4. Linn Bee

    Linn Bee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Hey! I like this answer. My garden shed, with its 16 feet of south-facing windows is a whole bunch warmer than the coop.

    Love, Linn B (aka Smart Red) Gardening zone 5a - 4b in south-est, central-est Wisconsin
     
  5. henney penny

    henney penny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2009
    Northern Maine
    My orps and silkies are eating a lot more now that the weather is colder
     
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    The girls are 9 months old and not molting. The greenhouse is nearly the same temp as the outdoor temp, just less windy. I have food inside and outside for them so if they go in or out they have access to food.

    So why wouldn't they be interested in eating? I tried the wetting of the layer feed with warm water and that was still a no go.
     
  7. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    I wormed them last Monday and one of the girls didn't feel good the day after. The others seemed fine. Could this have anything to do with it?
     
  8. Black Jaque

    Black Jaque Out Of The Brooder

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    I realize this is an old thread, but I'm experiencing this right now so it is appropriate to me. This is my first winter w/ chickens so I don't know what to expect except that I know any warm blooded animal needs to increase calorie intake to maintain body heat.

    So what would cause chickens to quit eating in the winter? I've got one feeder in the coop and one in the run and they don't seem interested in either one. I've spread some scratch - not interested in that either.
     
  9. Vamvakas

    Vamvakas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens are beast and eat a lot anytime of the year lol..
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  10. stone_family3

    stone_family3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine are eating less, but I haven't been getting eggs since September.
     

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