Do you free feed your flock or measure it out?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by PineBurrowPeeps, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. Title says it all.
    I bought my girls a nice stainless steel hanging feeder, a 12 pound one. I have 17 birds total eating out of it. It seems like a full feeder is lasting me about a day and a half and that's with a couple handfuls of corn tossed into the shavings for scratching.
    Prior to this I measured out my grain and gave about 2 feed scoops per day or 8 pounds. My girls are starting to look good weight wise but I worry about them over-eating... Will they?
  2. DTchickens

    DTchickens Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 23, 2008
    Bailey, Mississippi.
    Quote:measure mine out, keeps the wild birds/diseases away... and yes they will over eat and get fat (which will make them stop laying and cause health issues like people "more prone to heart attacks.. etc" ) i just let mine tell me how much they need ( no not like " I need a cup" ) say.. summer i feed them a cup.. thats all they'll eat for that time being. then when it got to winter they started wanting 2 cups.. starting to go back down now though.
  3. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    mine feed out of a 20lb dog food feeder and dont appear over weight.
  4. Kim_NC

    Kim_NC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2009
    Mt Airy, NC
    For their main diet - we fill their feeders with free choice 20% measuring. They can eat all they want - of course, they only eat what they need and do not gourge themselves.

    For treats and wetted mash - we feed "measured amounts"
    ...not more than 10% of total feed in kitchen scraps/scratch/corn in Winter OR scraps & garden refuse in Summer

    ...not more than 10% of total feed in wetted 28% (high protein) crumbles. This compensates for the lower protein in the scraps/corn/etc. And they love it wetted. They think its a big treat. Important - we only feed what they will gobble up in an hour or less. (No wetted feed laying around to breed bacteria or mold.)
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  5. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I have a 30 lb. feeder that I fill whenever it's starting to get low. I don't worry about them overeating on their layer feed.
    Snacks - breads, scratch, fruits - are what I limit.
    Also, my chickens free-range. Their consumption of the layer feed goes down when there are plently of things for them to eat while foraging.
  6. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    This hobby is spendy. I measure. I give my meat birds what they can eat in 12 hours. I give my chickens what they can eat in 6 hours, twice a day. I don't know why I do that but if I just filled a feeder every day I wouldn't have a reason to be out there a couple times a day. [​IMG]
  7. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2008
    Russia, NY
    My hens have 24/7 access to layer pellets. They seem to only eat the layer pellets when they are hungry. Treats they will gorge on until they explode, so I limit their treats.
  8. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    I have heard over and over again that chickens will not overeat on poultry feed. If they are getting fat it's not that they are eating too much but their diet is too rich, has too many treats, or maybe they aren't getting enough exercise and need a bigger pen. They should have food available 24/7. You can measure it but I've always been told you should make sure you are measuring enough for 24hrs or whenever you'll be out to fill the feeder again. The only thing I measure is sunflower seeds which are a treat and supplement. The chickens in the coop have layer feed available all the time and usually don't even half empty their feeder by the next day. The japanese bantams that are seperate have 22% gamebird starter available all the time now after several discussions with jap breeders and they seem to be doing better than with the lower protein food. I also put out as much grit and oyster shell as they'll eat in a day and I'm planning to get or build some little feeders so I don't have to measure that out everyday.
  9. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    I have over 50 layers now and I used to let them have free choice and I was plowing through feed, I then started giving a measured amount per bird per day and they are doing great and laying very well healthy eggs. I know these chickens will overeat/waste feed, they do get some corn every day but only a small amount per bird. I now use only half the feed I was going through and the birds seem fine with no wieght issuses at all. just because your chickens bum rush you at the coop door and your feeders are just about empty does not mean your chickens are hungry.

  10. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:They are just happy to see you [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

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