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Eating me into bankruptcy!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by JackAubrey, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. JackAubrey

    JackAubrey In the Brooder

    Dec 30, 2010
    Hello the forum! I have a BUNCH (40+) chicks. They are 5 weeks old and all feathered out. I buy a 50 lb bag of chick starter, and they eat it all in less than a week! I leave feed in there for them 24/7, can I get by with feeding them once or twice a day or do they require access to food at all times? I have 7 full grown hens that forage for most of their food. I feed them a big scoop of layer feed once a day, usually in the evening. If they fill up in the morning they don't forage as well! A 50 lb bag of layer feed lasts almost a month. What say ye? Best regards, JA

  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Unless they are meaties, restricting feed is a bad idea for chicks.
    1 person likes this.
  3. shortgrass

    shortgrass Crowing

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    Chicks from hatch to 8 weeks should consume about a pound per week...so for 40 birds, you're just about perfect for feed amount... Saving bucks, not so much.

    You could look into fermenting your feed. That would use less dry feed and help them use what they do eat more efficiently. It's what I do, even newly hatched chicks go right to FF with momma. Saves me alot of money on chick starter and they clean it up better so less waste, too.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  4. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    Make sure you aren't loosing any feed to billing out of the feeder and getting mixed in the bedding or mice/birds. Place the feeders in large pie plates or rubber feed pans if you haven't already. Fermenting chick feed has helped me reduce consumption.
    1 person likes this.
  5. JackAubrey

    JackAubrey In the Brooder

    Dec 30, 2010
    Junebuggena,No, these are being raised as egg layers.I think a few will turn out to be roosters, so we'll eat them. Shortgrass, I did not realize a pound a week was normal, you're right, were right about where we need to be! I saw an article in Mother Earth News about fermenting feed! Seems every one is doing it! I put some feed into a couple of large mason jars. We'll see if it turns out! Say, the FF , is it a soupy texture when you offer it to the birds, or do you pour off the excess liquid? JA
  6. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Fermenting feed is very easy, and you can mix it to any consistency you wish. It doesn't need to be sloppy and wet to ferment, and if you mix it to the consistency of biscuit dough, there is never any need to strain liquid off, saving lots of time and effort.

    I've found my chicken prefer the thicker consistency, and it's much easier to deal with than a soupy mix. I've also found that the dryer mix doesn't cause my chickens to take in more water than they need, thus their poops are dryer, too.
  7. Noreaster Egger

    Noreaster Egger Chirping

    May 22, 2016
    Quote:Mine prefer the thicker consistency too. However I have a handful of birds that love to drink the excess liquid. The ferment I plan to feed the next day gets stirred and put into the fridge that slows down further fermenting and it helps the feed to settle like cement to the bottom while the liquid pools up top. In the morning I can easily drain the liquid off into a small chick waterer so that those who want to drink its goodness can. Sometimes I can turn my jar almost completely upside down without the feed tumbling out. Everyone fermenting needs to find what works for them. It took me a bit to find the method I preferred with my particular feed.

  8. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Must hatch more Premium Member Project Manager

    Jul 31, 2015
    Houston, TX
    My Coop
    I have 8 full grown hens...that I feed FF to.
    A 50 pound bag last me about 4.5 to 5 weeks.

  9. shortgrass

    shortgrass Crowing

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado

    Yep, those little buggers eat ALOT ;)

    I mix my FF pretty thick, too. There might be maybe a half an inch of water covering it whenever I open the lid, but I try not to get it too soupy or I can't scoop it up. In the heat of the summer I do make sure that there's just a skim of water on it just to deter bugs, but otherwise it gets eaten too fast to worry about it.

    For that many birds, you woukd probably do good with three 5 gallon buckets, in rotation. That way you can have 2 more fermenting while you feed out, since it'll probably take half a bucket to feed the whole flock of 40. (My flock was 49 birds until this spring, so our numbers should be about the same)

    I also use whole grains and alfalfa pellets to ferment, not the premade layer mix. You can ferment both without a problem; I just found that I can mix my own feed and bring costs down even more ;)

    I think I was going through about 300# of feed per month, for 49 birds... I'll have to look for sure as my memory isnt the greatest lol, but that sounds right...and it was only costing me about $.20 per pound to feed.

    Yeah, FF is the way to go. It's more than just saving money; it also helps their overall health with the probiotics in it. Win/win all the way around :)
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  10. LaCageAuxFowls

    LaCageAuxFowls In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2017
    Valparaiso, Indiana
    Percheron Chick....I am new to this site so I hope I'm not breaking some rule but I noticed your horse and wondered if you saw my post today: I have horses and am introducing chickens who will free-range with my horses. I am especially interested in the chickens eating things from fresh poop (like undigested corn) and the manure pile....do I need to dispose of horse manure off the property if the horses have been wormed and/or have had antibiotics? I use a feed through fly reducing product (Solitude IGR0 and called the company about introducing chickens, they said they use the same ingredient in a similar product for chicken but had no research on chickens raised with horses on their product or visa-versa..... I am still nervous about eating the eggs?

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