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Do laying hens eat more?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by oaklandmama, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. oaklandmama

    oaklandmama Out Of The Brooder

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    We got our first egg a couple weeks ago and the feeder has been emptying out really fast, it seems. Do they eat more once they start laying, or should I be looking for feed thiefs? [​IMG]
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    It could be a little of both. It takes a LOT of energy to produce an egg almost every day so they do need both increased food and increased water. However depending on how much your consumption has gone up, you might also have mice/rats or wild birds helping themselves.
     
  3. Wildflower_VA

    Wildflower_VA Chillin' With My Peeps

    I got my first egg on the 24th and since that time I have four laying of six, and the feed is just flying out of the feeders. Prior to them laying, I was worried because they were eating very little of the very expensive Countryside organic layer feed, I assumed due to free ranging in the woods and eating a lot of veggies from the garden. I was worried that the eggs would not be high quality because they were eating very little layer mash, but the eggs I am getting are hard shelled and very dark orange yolks and tasty.

    That said, ever since they started to lay, I am having to give them at least twice as much feed as I was before, and still the feeders are empty before I refill during the day. They are even eating the dust in the bottom that they normally wouldn't touch. They have gone from very wasteful to cleaning up every speck of feed. They are still free-ranging and eating even more garden produce, but are eating the feed like there will be none tomorrow.
     
  4. oaklandmama

    oaklandmama Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok, I feel better now. The feed usage definitely hasn't doubled, but it has gone up quite a bit even with only 2 of 8 hens laying (and two more who keep sitting and trying). I was worried that mice were finding their way in, but couldn't figure out how, since we've got 1/2 inch hardware cloth on top of and trenched around the whole perimeter of the coop.

    Sorry if that was a silly question... so much to learn! [​IMG]
     
  5. sherylreno

    sherylreno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Well, mice only needs enough space for it's head since the rest of it's body will slide through any hole, so small mice can fit through 1/2" mesh. They also can dig, naw and chew their way into places and things you would think they couldn't fit. The best way to find out if you have any critters is to wet all around your coop at night and when you wake up in the am go check the area before the chickens get out, that will answer that for you.

    No question is silly on here so always ask away. [​IMG]
     
  6. oaklandmama

    oaklandmama Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2011
    Oakland, CA
    Ok, I'm lost! How will wetting the area around the coop tell me if there are mice?
     
  7. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    It will allow paw prints to show up.
     
  8. oaklandmama

    oaklandmama Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2011
    Oakland, CA
    Oh, duh. [​IMG] Thanks!!!
     
  9. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Mice also leave behind their tell tale little turds too. Mice gravitate toward chicken coops.

    We simply cannot afford to feed them, so our feeding program allows for the hens to empty their feeders at 5 or 6 pm every evening. Doesn't mean the mice don't find some crumbs here or there, but no ready banquet.
     
  10. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Laying hens eat a ton of food plus anything and everything extra you throw into the pen. They out-eat a rooster by a mile.

    Mice can be a big problem. They spread serious disease and attract snakes. I keep several mouse traps set just outside the pen, and catch two or three mice every morning. Recently I caught a rattlesnake curled up in the corner of the run. I went out and bought more mouse traps.
     

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