Do chickens in general, eat less food in winter?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chickenbike, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. chickenbike

    chickenbike Songster

    Mine eat a bit less pellets now in the winter. I haven't increased their treats, I'm guessing that just being less active is the reason?
  2. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    Yes, they do.
  3. 1acrefarm

    1acrefarm Songster

    Nov 3, 2007
    I feed mine just like I do in the summer but some days they leave most of there pellets. I just hold off on feeding them the next day till they eat them all. In the summer they always eat it all plus all the garden goodies I give them.
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border

    You must be getting those chickens out for mountain biking during the Summer!

    My birds have a sedentary lifestyle - laying around the backyard. "Ranging" isn't really an accurate term when they've only got a couple thousand square feet to explore.

    So, lower temperatures arrive in the Fall and they respond by increasing their calorie intake. My pigeons were absolutely amazing - they would more than double what they ate. And, pigeons did cross-country Summer excursions (well, day trips [​IMG]).

    A survey of pastured laying hens showed about a one-third increase in feed consumed during Winter months - apparently, in an area with no snow. Chickens kept in a controlled environment increased their feed consumption by nearly the same amount when the temperature was lowered from 70°F to 40°F.

    I think that it is safe to say that at freezing temperatures - - if all other things are equal (activity, hours of light, etc.) - - feed consumption goes up about one-third over what it was during the Summer, IMO.

    edited to add: (activity, hours of light, egg production, etc.)
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
    1 person likes this.
  5. Mine eat huge amounts now, especially on bitter days, and I add greens= still getting eggs!
    1 person likes this.
  6. Mojo Chick'n

    Mojo Chick'n Empress of Chickenville

    Mine are eating more, not less.

    Good thing I'm selling more eggs to help pay for the feed bill [​IMG]

    1 person likes this.
  7. SunAngel

    SunAngel Songster

    May 20, 2008
    Chambersburg, Pa.
    Mine turned into piggies as soon as it got cold!! Their feeders seem to be empty every time I wander in there during the day!
  8. danrut101

    danrut101 Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Chickens should eat more when it is cold. The colder it gets the more they eat. The reason is they need the extra calories so they can make heat for their bodies. This is also why a big portion of the poultry industry is in the south. Less on the heating needed for them to convert calories to pounds.

    If yours are eating less, then you must have them a warm place to stay.

    But, if the daylight hours shrink, so will their intake as they will only eat in the daytime hours. If you leave a light on all night for them you will see that your feeders will be empty when you check them. I'm not recommending this, because this will really mess them up, especially if they are laying.

    But if it isn't cold and daylight hasn't changed that much, check your flock to insure no health issues.

    Danny D
  9. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Mine eat much more now when it's cold than in the summer when it's hot.
  10. 1acrefarm

    1acrefarm Songster

    Nov 3, 2007
    I think mine are eating less because they are not laying. I am using no supplemental light and it has been pretty mild. My coop stays warmer than outdoors with no heat due to heat from bedding and body heat I assume. I guess no situations are exactly equal.

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