Eating too much?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kinof49er, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. kinof49er

    kinof49er New Egg

    Oct 7, 2013
    Patterson, CA
    Hi everyone! I have a flock of 13 Buff Orpingtons. The flock feeds free choice from a 10 pound hanging feeder in their pen. I normally feed them organic layer pellets from Modesto Milling. In addition, they get a small amount of scratch feed from a hanging scatter feeder twice a day. The 10 pound feeder normally lasts them 5 days. I recently changed their feed to an organic whole grain layer feed also from Modesto Milling and eliminated the scratch feed. Now the flock mines through the feed and empties their feeder in less than 2 days. They leave behind a pile of peas and pellets. I leave the feeder empty for a day and they'll finish off the remaining peas and pellets. I am now having to refill their feeder every 3 days. Are they over eating? Should I be feeding them daily rations instead? Any help is appreciated.

  2. beetandsteet

    beetandsteet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2015
    SE Texas
    An average chicken eats up to a quarter pound of feed per day. Buff orpingtons, being heavier breeds, would probably eat a good quarter pound per day. I did some quick calculations, and a 10 lb feeder feeding 13 chickens and lasting 3 days means each is eating around 0.256 pounds per day. As long as the chickens can get plenty of exercise, I wouldn't worry. That's nice looking feed though! I can see why they'd like that better than plain pellets :)
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    With whole grain feeds, birds tend to pick out the bits that they like the best and ignore everything else.
    Before the switch, you were likely over feeding them with the scratch, and that was why your pellets lasted so long.

    I've got 15 birds in my flock, and they eat at least 5 pounds of pellets every day.
    chickens really likes this.
  4. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    I used to go through about 10# per day for 40 chickens. I mix my own feed, so they were wasting the alfalfa pellets and some of the corn, so I started fermenting it. Now I feed about 7# per day, and they have no choice to pick and choose; they eat it all. Added bonus is less fecal waste too ;)
  5. barneveldrerman

    barneveldrerman Chillin' With My Peeps

    They arent over eating. They are eating normally. This feed may be more satisfying or tastes better. It sounds like you have a healthy flock.
  6. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    With the exception of hybrid meat birds, chickens eat based on their calorie needs for the day, they won't over eat...

    If they are eating more feed (taking into account the discarded waste because they pick out the favorites) it's likely because your new food is providing less calories per pound and thus they need to eat more to satisfy their daily calorie needs... Also take into consideration any changes in weather, the cooler the weather the more they need to eat to maintain their body heat...
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Boy, that's for sure!!

    You also need to pay attention to your feed bag labels, know the protein levels and calculate those with other foods you are providing.
    I've found that if I keep the protein at a good level, balancing out other foods, they will eat less volume.
    Waste free feeders help a ton too.
  8. rog1111

    rog1111 New Egg

    Jan 27, 2018
    Berkeley, CA
    I just had the same experience. I switched from the Modesto Milling organic layer pellets to the Modesto Milling whole grain layer and the chickens started going through it a lot faster. My chickens are eating the whole grain food much, much faster. Every other factor is the same. The weather is getting warmer, and the protein content of the new food is 1% higher than the old food. There doesn't seem to be very much wasted feed on the ground near the feeder, either.

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