Feed consumption

LabMomma

Songster
Dec 2, 2021
150
472
116
the "thumb rule" is about 1/4# per bird, per day of a commercial ration for something like a commercial layer. That's NOT applicable to a "meatie" like a CX, and is is traditional commercial (or closely held backyard) chickens. Your ability to free range, depending on size and quality of the pasture, will have a seasonal effect - more when things are in fruit/seed/new growth - much less when dormant or preparing for dormancy. That said, with only an hour or two daily, I doubt you will see much impact, even with a very good pasture.

It is essentially impossible to maintain modern birds in peak condition without use of modern feeds - your casual mention of scratch grains and BSFL is all I need to read to have strong suggestion your are not yet nearly qualified to try to assemble a nutrtitionally complete feed without relying on a commercial supplier, and the conditions offered your birds suggests you likely do not have the resources, either. It takes a LOT of space to deliberately raise what you need to feed chickens solely from your own property, or the chickens have to be part of a balanced ecosystem, relying on waste/scrap/spillage from numerous other activities and animals. As there is no mention of cows, pigs, horses, goats, acres of plantings, etc... The old time methods assumptions are quite likely inapplicable to your circumstances (and don't support a modern bird in peak condition, anyways).

Not a dig at you in any way, simply an acknowledgement of reality - there's a lot of things not widely told to people making effort to in some way recreate some idyllic past. Welcome to BYC.

and for what its worth, my flock is in my Sig, below. Seasonally, my biodiverse polyculture saves me 15-35% on feed costs monthly (which are significant), and I am deliberate in my efforts to produce a bird well suited to free range my area. They have 24/7/365 access to the pasture and surrounding wood.

Finally, I am NOT a Vetrinarian, a trained Animal Feed specialist, involved in a collegiate-level agriculture program, or the like. Neither have I been doing this very long. I am, however, actually "doing it", and publicly posting my successes and failures along the way, with careful effort to identify conditions which make certain techniques and management methods successful (or not) which may - or may not - be applicable to others. ...and I'm developing some measure of respect around BYC on the subject of feeding chickens. I've done a LOT of reading, and learned from many others here of similar background.

Likely you will see my name a lot in the BYC feed forums. Shadrach's comments on the first page are very good, though some may read them and overestimate what can be obtained from "good pasture". This sentence "I mean at least a couple of acres of mixed grasses and woodlands that the chickens can access from dawn to dusk." by @Shadrach is not a caveat, its a minimum necessary requirement. A baseline from which supporting management methods can be developed. THEN one must be very specific in their plantings to manufacture that "good pasture".

FWIW, I feed between 11 and 14# daily for 60-70 birds, including roughly 10 ducks, seasonally dependent. The goats are fed seperately, and while their is some opportunism by both, it sort of balances out. Mostly.
I do buy commercial feed for my chickens. I'm not currently trying to meet their nutritional needs without commercial feed. I was simply just saying what I like to give my chickens. I give them more than what I mentioned, I was just saying some of the things I give them. I was just saying that being independent in feeding your chickens without having to buy commercial feed is a good goal to have. I love my chickens very very much. They bring lots of joy to me and I cannot imagine life without them. I have done lots of research on chickens as well and prepared myself long before I got chickens on what they need. I am not trying to argue with you, I am just explaining myself.
 

LabMomma

Songster
Dec 2, 2021
150
472
116
I strayed a bit on my post. I need to add that I buy a 35 pound bag of feed every 3-4 weeks. I did notice that they ate less feed when they ate lots of Japanese beetles!
That is very good to know! Thank you for sharing that with me! We have LOTS of Japanese beatles in the spring/summer time where we live. They devour our rose bushes and are such pests. Thank you for letting me know that I can just give them to the chickens :) No more torn up rose bushes! :) :) :)
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
5,169
15,525
606
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
I do buy commercial feed for my chickens. I'm not currently trying to meet their nutritional needs without commercial feed. I was simply just saying what I like to give my chickens. I give them more than what I mentioned, I was just saying some of the things I give them. I was just saying that being independent in feeding your chickens without having to buy commercial feed is a good goal to have. I love my chickens very very much. They bring lots of joy to me and I cannot imagine life without them. I have done lots of research on chickens as well and prepared myself long before I got chickens on what they need. I am not trying to argue with you, I am just explaining myself.
I understood that you fed them commercial feed.

As goals go, for most, not feeding them commercial feed is unrealistic and/or rather less than supportive of their optimal health. Thus, not necessarily a "good goal to have". In the US, most who do extensive reading on the state of the Art in poultry feed science reach similar conclusion. At the very least, its impractical. At the very worst, its unhealthy (and generally expensive).

I didn't question your reasons for having chickens.

Very best to you on your chicken journey, wherever it lead you.
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
9,340
42,087
983
Belding, MI
We have LOTS of Japanese beatles in the spring/summer time where we live. They devour our rose bushes and are such pests. Thank you for letting me know that I can just give them to the chickens :) No more torn up rose bushes!
Here's some more info on JBs. Their defense is to drop from whatever they're on. This makes them EASY to catch. Get a wide mouthed container, put about 1" of water in it. Hold the container under the leaf/stem/flower the beetles are on, and tap the leaf/whatever. The beetle will drop into your container.

You don't need to put any soap into the water (it breaks the surface tension, so the bug can't stay on top of the surface). They usually don't try to fly out of the container. If they spread their wings as though they're going to try, I swirl the water around.

When I feed them to the chickens, I pour them into a large shallow pan that has about 1" of water in it. My chickens know what it means when I say, "Bug snack!"

Their larval form is (the hideous, root eating) grub that is off-white, with a brownish head and a grey tail end, usually curled into a C shape. My chickens like them too! I take a container with me whenever I'm digging in the garden.
 

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
17,115
40,765
951
South-Eastern Montana
Hello, everyone! I just recently got rid of four extra roosters that had been in my flock. I used to have 13 chickens and would go through 2 to 2.5 bags of 50 lb. chicken feed. Now I only have nine chickens one rooster and eight hens. I’m just wondering how much feed a month I will go through now. How much food does everyone go through a month with their flock? Thank you!
I have roughly 100, plus a BBW turkey and 10 coturnix quail and go through about 150lbs a week. Not close to ypur amount, but its a staeting point. On average, those birds eat roughly a pound and a fraction a week, though obviously the turkey eats far more than a quail does
 
I have been keeping 3 or 4 hens for the last several years. I think it represents the classic small flock that consumes a pound or less feed per day, making a bag last for at least 6 weeks. Right now with 3 small hens in winter with few scraps and no grazing I am feeding 200 grams per day about 6 to 7 ounces. They won’t eat more.
I use a chicken tractor in the spring/summer/fall but I still feed them their full ration including some scratch grain. They lay really well and earn their keep cultivating garden plots and building soil. I don’t really focus on feed reduction because I want them to do more than just lay eggs. The more feed they get, the more manure I get. If I want them to eat every weed and blade of grass until the soil is bare, then they don’t starve while doing so.
 

LabMomma

Songster
Dec 2, 2021
150
472
116
Here's some more info on JBs. Their defense is to drop from whatever they're on. This makes them EASY to catch. Get a wide mouthed container, put about 1" of water in it. Hold the container under the leaf/stem/flower the beetles are on, and tap the leaf/whatever. The beetle will drop into your container.

You don't need to put any soap into the water (it breaks the surface tension, so the bug can't stay on top of the surface). They usually don't try to fly out of the container. If they spread their wings as though they're going to try, I swirl the water around.

When I feed them to the chickens, I pour them into a large shallow pan that has about 1" of water in it. My chickens know what it means when I say, "Bug snack!"

Their larval form is (the hideous, root eating) grub that is off-white, with a brownish head and a grey tail end, usually curled into a C shape. My chickens like them too! I take a container with me whenever I'm digging in the garden.
Thank you! That’s really good to know! My chickens will be getting lots of beetles this summer!!😁
 

AFG

In the Brooder
Sep 28, 2019
9
19
28
Hello, everyone! I just recently got rid of four extra roosters that had been in my flock. I used to have 13 chickens and would go through 2 to 2.5 bags of 50 lb. chicken feed. Now I only have nine chickens one rooster and eight hens. I’m just wondering how much feed a month I will go through now. How much food does everyone go through a month with their flock? Thank you!
Chicken Math! From an article I read on BackyardPoultry.com Pullets and hens eat an average of 1.5lbs of their respective feeds per week. Attached is a worksheet I give my 4-H'ers.
 

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