Do you free-feed your chickens, or feed all at once?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by dianneS, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. dianneS

    dianneS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2009
    South Central PA
    I've been feeding my free-range chickens every evening to get them back in the hen house so that I can close them in for the night. They drive me crazy though, [​IMG] any time after 3 PM (now 2 since we turned the clocks back!) they follow me everywhere and won't leave me alone!! Even when I feed them, some will still follow me around. They get under my feet and I can't get anything done! I'll walk down the driveway and I hear chicken foot steps behind me. When I turn around, there is about ten of them stalking me again! [​IMG]

    I've decided to fill their tube feeder full and see what happens. I don't know if they will waste it or not?

    Which method do you prefer? Do they waste more when the feeder stays filled all the time? They are leaving me alone now, and have stopped stalking me so much and they do still go in the hen house at night.

    So what is the best feeding method in your opinion??
  2. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    I feed free choice - a tube feeder of 20% protein mash and another of whole grains.

  3. BlackBart

    BlackBart Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2009
    I have free choice layer mash in the coop but I scatter their cracked corn and hen scratch in the driveway morning and night.
    When it snows or it is raining very hard I throw it under the coops which are built off the ground just for that purpose.
  4. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    I fill two feeders in the morning, generally - sometimes I'll skip a day, and toss scratch in the evenings for my free rangers. All other birds are penned and get fed once a day. The free rangers will still follow me around when I feed the penned birds, even though they all get the same food. [​IMG] At least there is little waste when feed is spilled!
  5. toletiquesbysam

    toletiquesbysam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2008
    They have access to feed 24/7, they will run to me for treats but otherwise they are happy free ranging.
  6. txchickie

    txchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    My bantams that free range 24/7 get fed 2x a day. There's plenty for them to eat around here without me keeping feed out for them. They're fat as little pigs, too.

    My chickens that stay in their coop/run are free-fed. I keep feeders full but throw corn or scratch out once a day or so.
  7. dianneS

    dianneS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2009
    South Central PA
    We have plenty for our free-rangers to eat too. That's why I never kept a feeder full all of the time. This seems to be working though. They're not wasting much, still free-rangeing, they stay closer to the hen house and they're out from under my feet now!
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I free range and keep a feeder in the coop full 24/7.
    If you lock your chickens up in the coop full time for a few days, maybe a week, they'll learn to go into the coop at dusk. Less hassle then trying to herd them in each night. Chickens have this annoying habit of going anywhere but where you want them to.
    They'll still run to you every time they see you, looking for treats; but at least they'll put themselves to bed at night.
    When mine have had their quota of treats for the day but are still stalking me looking for more, I throw a handful of their layer pellets on the ground. They eat it up like it's the best thing to come along since white bread.
  9. jojo54

    jojo54 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2009
    BC Canada
    My girls put themselves to bed every night (they always have so I thought this was normal). I keep a feeder and waterer in the coop at all times. They eat whenever they feel they need to but I only have to fill the feeder once every two weeks. They free range and usually stay out all day (I have several waterers outside as well). They get scratch (grain and corn) morning and evening and I also have an area where I throw scraps from the garden, vegetables, grass clippings, their favorite weeds, etc. They come running when they see me but don't stick around if I don't give them anything or if I don't have the pail I use for scratch. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. twentynine

    twentynine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2009
    I feed free choice, filling a trough feeder with just a little bit more than they will eat in a day. In late afternoon when I feed them they should have less than 1/4 cup left in the feeder. If they have a little more left I feed them a little less, if the feeder is empty I feed a little more. That a way I can keep track of how much they are eating each day.

    So far it seems that 1 liter is just about right, for my 10 birds. They do not free range but they do have grass, turnips, rape, and clover in their run. Along with a handfull of corn.

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