Eating Less Because of the Heat?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by digitS', Jun 19, 2010.

  1. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    This is one of the most useful sources of information on feeding chickens that I know of.

    Alabama Cooperative Extension, Nutrition for Backyard Chicken Flocks

    "During summer, feed consumption tends to decrease as environmental temperature increases, so protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals must be increased in the diet. In the winter, the opposite is true and birds eat more to maintain their body heat."

    Table 3. Protein Requirements for Light Breed Leghorn-Type Laying Hens According to Daily Feed Consumption gives the Dietary Protein Level as a percent of feed. You can see that as consumption drops, the protein level should rise.

    People often think that better feed should be given in the winter months. Generally, it is just that MORE feed should be given. Because the weather is cold, the birds tend to eat more. The total amount of every nutrient they eat, goes up.

    Summer heat cuts back on their appetite. At the same time, the chickens may be eating a lot of things like grass. There's lots of fiber in grass so that may lower the actual nutrients in their overall diet further. They don't have the interest to eat much and the room to eat is being taken up with lawngrass. Therefore, as the poultry specialists advise, the protein level of their feed should go up.

    The easiest way to see that their consumption goes down during the summer and to help us know when to provide higher quality feed is to weigh their feeder before filling. At least, it seems to work for me.

    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010

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