Feeding before roosty time

May 5, 2021
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891
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Connecticut
Hello chicken friends! Hope your well. Hey, quick question about feeding before roost time. I currently give my girls their feed wet with a hard boil egg and maybe some veggies in order to fill crop B4 roost. My question is: how soon is too soon to feed with goal of full crop??? Is one hour before roost too far a time span? Does this make sense? Thanks peep peeps 🐓❤️
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
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USA
My question is: how soon is too soon to feed with goal of full crop??? Is one hour before roost too far a time span?
I would guess that feeding an hour before roosting time would be fine.

I currently give my girls their feed wet with a hard boil egg and maybe some veggies in order to fill crop B4 roost.
If you want their crop full so they can stay warm by digesting the feed while they sleep, I would skip the veggies at that feeding. Veggies have more fiber and maybe more water than the other things, so the chickens will have less total energy (calories) in that crop full of food at bedtime (assuming they fill their crop the same amount).

In general, I have nothing against feeding veggies to chickens-- but if you are trying to keep them warm at night in cold weather, I would offer the veggies in the morning instead.
 
May 5, 2021
535
891
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Connecticut
I would guess that feeding an hour before roosting time would be fine.


If you want their crop full so they can stay warm by digesting the feed while they sleep, I would skip the veggies at that feeding. Veggies have more fiber and maybe more water than the other things, so the chickens will have less total energy (calories) in that crop full of food at bedtime (assuming they fill their crop the same amount).

In general, I have nothing against feeding veggies to chickens-- but if you are trying to keep them warm at night in cold weather, I would offer the veggies in the morning instead.
NatJ! That makes perfect sense and I thank you for that tid bit! Duly noted. I will adopt this routine. Currently their manure is a bit pancake like in the AM under the roost. We shall see. Quick couple questions: do you feed your chickens at night? What do you feed them? Do you think it’s necessary to feed them every night even if its cold? I really appreciate you Natj 🐓❤️
 

WhySayWhat

Crowing
11 Years
Nov 5, 2010
926
999
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Spokane, WA
I free feed, but have one scissor beaked girl that can't manage dry feed. She eats only the wet mash we provide around 1pm (in a large quantity so she gets her fill and the rest peck at it). She goes to roost with a full crop, same as the rest.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,660
18,967
726
USA
Quick couple questions: do you feed your chickens at night? What do you feed them? Do you think it’s necessary to feed them every night even if its cold?

I prefer to keep dry feed available to the chickens at all times, along with water. The dry food will be either pellets or crumbles, depending on the size of the chickens and what the feed store has in stock at the time.

In winter when the water freezes, I bring fresh water as soon as the sun comes up, and again about an hour before roosting time. If the water is freezing very quickly, I will try to replace it a few more times during the day as well. I know they will not drink in the dark at night, so I don't bother going out to replace water then.

Chickens usually do a good job of filling their own crops before they go to roost, so I generally make sure they have plenty of feed and water and let them decide how much to eat when.

I like to serve wet food sometimes, but I usually consider it to be for fun, not because they really need it. So I will serve cold wet food in hot weather, or warm wet food in cold weather, or I will serve wet food at any time when I feel like giving them a treat. When I need to lure chickens back into the coop after free ranging in the yard, a dish of wet food works very well for that too. But I consider that chickens will be fine if I skip all of these.

If there is an extra-cold stretch in the winter, so their water freezes over completely in less than 2 hours, I will serve wet food morning and evening until things are warmer again. I know that chickens like to drink little bits at a time, frequently, which they cannot do when it is frozen. I also know that thirsty chickens will not eat dry food. So by serving wet food, I ensure they get a good amount of both food and water twice a day. This is the one situation where I think wet food does make a real difference to the health of the chickens. (I still provide water as often as I can, minimum twice a day, and leave the dry food available too.)

Note: I described what has typically worked well for me. My way is not the only way, and it isn't even the best way for everyone. Some other people manage their chickens differently, and they also get good results.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
18,220
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WA, Pac NW
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do you feed your chickens at night? What do you feed them? Do you think it’s necessary to feed them every night even if its cold?
My birds free feed during the day and naturally load up just before going up on the roost, as there's a feeder right in front of the roosts. I don't see a need to feed them something specific before bed, their regular food is just fine.

Chickens don't eat at night (if by "night" you mean once it's totally dark) and so I remove all feed at night to minimize rodent issues.
 
May 5, 2021
535
891
181
Connecticut
Do you restrict feed and only feed at set times or do you have feed available all the time and need advice about a special evening treat?
Thank you kindly for your time 3killerB's. I greatly appreciate your input. Feed is available 24/7 in their feeders. In the evening, my motivation to feed them is two fold. I can inspect their behavior and mostly to fill their crops B4 Roost. I usually wet their food into a mash and add some fresh fruits or veggies and give to them an hour B4 Roost. I offer 1 tablespoon per bird. 🐔 ❤️
 
May 5, 2021
535
891
181
Connecticut
Thank you kindly for your time 3killerB's. I greatly appreciate your input. Feed is available 24/7 in their feeders. In the evening, my motivation to feed them is two fold. I can inspect their behavior and mostly to fill their crops B4 Roost. I usually wet their food into a mash and add some fresh fruits or veggies and give to them an hour B4 Roost. I offer 1 tablespoon per bird. 🐔 ❤️
oh! I forgot to ask you 3KillerB's: What is your opinion about meals B4 roost, and I'd like your feedback to my routine. Because its New England winter, I will replace fruits and or veggies with Black sunflower seeds or a topping of mealworms. very few tho. Thanks!
 

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