Do chickens slow down eating for winter?

Chickylet

Chirping
Feb 19, 2018
39
43
66
MA
I've noticed my chickens are not eating as much of their feed recently. Not sure if it's due to the time of year or are they finding more to eat out in their run,,,,,

We live in MA, so days are getting much shorter and colder. We used to have to fill up their feeder daily and w/in the past week we've noticed they aren't going thru it as quickly. Is this normal? It's our first winter with them.

Thanks!
Elissa
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
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632
South Park, Colorado, USA
I too have been going through less feed this winter. My best guess (at least in my situation) is twofold, one the chickens hide inside more when weather is bad and spend less time outdoors near the feeder scratching around. Secondly, we have far fewer wild birds and rodents around now that it's winter so I'm not feeding as many pests!
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
119,377
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New Jersey
Yes, lack of water will cut down on feed consumption - dehydration. Reason I asked was because of your location and the possibility that their water might be freezing. Apparently that is not happening. Did you change the type/brand of feed ?
 

GC-Raptor

Free Ranging
Jul 26, 2016
5,033
9,255
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Connecticut, USA
Smell the feed and feeder, a strong medicine or moldy smell isn't good.
I empty and clean my feeders at least monthly. The feed cakes up from drinking and eating and prevents the feed from flowing.
My 32 month old hens consume at least twice as much in winter than summer. They use the calories to keep warm.
They Freerange an hour before sunset daily weather permitting. Little to no bugs and worms this time of year. Another reason they eat more.
My 15 week olds eat like teenagers, regardless of temperature.
20181128_092613.jpg

A Pic of them this morning, enjoying some Scratch Grains. GC
 

TwoCrows

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BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Mar 21, 2011
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New Mexico, USA
My Coop
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Birds that are molting will go off their feed until the worst of it is over. Birds that are not laying do not need all the nutrients and will cut back on feed. If they are less active because of snow and are kept inside more will not need as many calories. Sometimes I wonder how they hold onto their weight in the winter, it gets so cold, the long nights and they don't eat as much as you would think. :idunno
 

Compost King

Free Ranging
Apr 19, 2018
3,304
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Salisbury, North Carolina
Usually the hens will eat less if they are not laying eggs. This often coincides with winter.
The roosters here tend to eat more in the winter mainly because they are not feeding the hens because the hens are not laying.
This totally sums up my experience in winter, the breeds that do not lay in winter eat much much less, they drink much less too. They also are pickier eaters. Many of mine will not eat worms when they are not laying.
 

MANNA-PRO

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