enough food?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by nellynelly, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. nellynelly

    nellynelly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2012
    Bogota, Col
    is egg production a good guide of enough feed?

    we have 30 birds, and are getting 22-25 eggs/day (sounds about right to me). they have been getting 80 grams of feed/day/bird. not free range, but have access to a 125 m^2 run (with compost pile).

    thank you.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The number of egg sounds about right to me, too -- actually it is a very good number. The egg laying cycle is about 25 hours, so they should skip a day about once a week. However, egg production can be affected by lots besides feed, including stress, a change in their environment, molting, and other things. It's possible for them to be a bit short on nutrition and still lay well. It makes sense that their bodies might put reproduction ahead of some other considerations.

    Their crops should feel full at the end of the day and empty in the morning. Their keel or breast bone, down the center of their "chest," should not be prominent or stick out too much. Their feathers should look healthy and a bit shiny. They should be active and not seem tired or sleepy; they may rest or nap but for the most part they should be up and around during the day.

    Mine eat as much as they choose and I really have no idea how much that is, though it is much less in warmer weather when they can find more bugs and forage. Perhaps others here will have an idea about the 80 grams -- although we would need to know their weight and breed -- and your breeds are probably different from ours.
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Doing portion control feeding works well, but involves some tight management and close observation.

    Feed a large portion in the morning hours. Examine the feeders. Are they empty by 1100 hours? If so, provide more feed. Are they emptied again by 1700 hours?

    This is how you can establish whether your rations are adequate. Eventually, you'll discover the proper amount. The birds will tell you. If the amount is not finished by nightfall, you've provided plenty and you can scale it back a bit. The goal is fed birds with no waste or no feed left overnight for the rodents and other creatures of the night. Ration feeding has long been practiced in the commercial egg layer industry. They have it down to a science. But they use a controlled environment.

    What makes it difficult or challenging for the small flock holder is all the variables, including free ranging benefits. It can be done. It is done successfully on farms around the world.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
  4. nellynelly

    nellynelly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2012
    Bogota, Col
    they finish all the food given in about 2 hours. when given more food, they spend more time in the coop (eating) and less outside searching for food. i dont want lazy chickens.

    they are RIR.
     

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