EXACTLY how much to feed chicken flock?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by FarmerJohn3285, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. FarmerJohn3285

    FarmerJohn3285 County Line Farms

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    Here's a topic that is sure to bring some debate! [​IMG] Me and DW debate all the time about how much is too much and how much is too little. We have a small flock (7 birds). I give them 3-4 cups of pellets, 1/2 cup of either BOSS or scratch. If they have left over, either my lab finishes it for them, or they pick at it throuh the day(if am fed) or the next morning (if evening fed).

    DW says we are feeding them too much. When she feeds them, she gives them slightly less than I do (maybe 2 cups pell, .5 cup scratch). SO DEBATE AWAY BYC FRIENDS!! [​IMG]
     
  2. mulewagon

    mulewagon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just put a scoop or two in the feeder - less if the weather is damp. When it gets low, I add some more. If they dump much on the ground, I don't fill it again until they've cleaned up.

    After all, they're turning out a huge percentage of their body weight in eggs - I figure if they're hungry, they need it!
     
  3. BlacksheepCardigans

    BlacksheepCardigans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A laying hen needs AT MINIMUM 16-17 grams protein for the day. If you're going to calculate minimums, you need to figure out how much feed each has to eat, realizing that there will be a lot of wastage, given whatever protein percent your feed is.

    Most of the time, the correct way to feed is free-choice. Food always available. That's how layer diets are designed; they're not very dense in protein and the hen needs to eat all day in order to exceed her minimum enough to grow feathers and stay healthy. Unless they are meat birds you're trying to artificially extend, or you have a special diet that allows limit-feeding because it's so dense in protein and nutrients, they shouldn't be fed once a day. They should be able to eat any time they want.
     
  4. halo

    halo Got The Blues

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    My Coop
    I feed them what they'll eat. I want to see feed left over, I dont ever want to see the feeder empty.
     
  5. FarmerJohn3285

    FarmerJohn3285 County Line Farms

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    Thanks for the input. OH, I should have mentioned these girls are free-ranged so they get to pick for bugs, plants, seeds, etc. throughout the day. Does that make a difference??
     
  6. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    When there are bugs and grass for them to eat, they will eat less feed. Here, those free luxuries are gone as winter comes. So they are back to eating their full amount of feed pellets. But I agree with the earlier poster, I don't want to see an empty feeder (mine is located in the coop) at any time.
     
  7. BlacksheepCardigans

    BlacksheepCardigans Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think it could make a difference if they lived in a mealworm farm [​IMG]. Otherwise, a hen actually needs a huge amount of land - think a good portion of an acre, not a yard - to sustain herself with ranging, and that's if the conditions are good.

    Think about how many grouse or pheasant you see if you walk through a big field - you might see one little group, or in the bigger birds one individual. That's how many that field can support, free ranging, and a field usually has many more bugs and seeds than a yard does.
     
  8. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feed my flock unlimited buffet style. Their feed is in their coop, no worries about getting wet or spoiling. There are two 5 gallon home made hanging bucket feeders that hold just shy of a 50lb feed sack between the two. I feed crumbles, but they don't waste much because they aren't able to scratch it out. Pellets would waste less, but mine aren't found of them. I restock the feeders when they are down to about 1/4 full. They go in and eat/snack several times a day...and at this time of year when there aren't any bugs to be found (and not much green grass), they'll go have a meal while free ranging (they only get to free range for 1-3 hours at a time) and then head back out to scavenge.

    I toss maybe two cups of scratch out in the mornings for them in the run- for 21 birds. This is mostly for rooster diversion... otherwise he spends about 2 minutes chasing everyone that comes out of the coop w/ his morning hormones! With the scratch out when I open the coop, he's busy finding it and calling the hens to it instead of running around like a madman!

    They get table scraps every few days, or as we have enough accumulated that everyone can get some.
     
  9. FarmerJohn3285

    FarmerJohn3285 County Line Farms

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    Quote:I own 3 acres of unfenced flat grassland. They use the front 1.5 which is mainly around the house...plants, shrubs, grass = bugs. Yeah I get that its winter, which is why I would feed more. But I'm tryin to make sure I can justify myself to DW LOL

    I can show her these posts and then she'll have to let me feed more [​IMG]
     
  10. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    If you're feeding regular layer pellets then give them all they'll eat. I'd just hang a feeder full and let them eat when they want. Keep treats and scratch to a minimum, about half a handful per bird per day.

    If you're feeding a higher protein feed you can increase the amount of scratch and/or treats.

    Most of my birds get a 20% protein (Flock Raiser) ration and I hang a tube feeder of whole grain along side of it comprised mostly of whole corn with a little oats or wheat and some alfalfa pellets. Week in and week out they'll normally eat about 60% grain and 40% Flock Raiser unless the weather is really cold when they'll eat a bit more grain.
     

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