Feeding chickens in winter

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by B2B family farm, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. B2B family farm

    B2B family farm Out Of The Brooder

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    How much more should chickens be fed during super cold weather? We have -8 during the night and the days are also pretty cold. The girls are in the barn but it still gets cold in there. What is the winter feed rule? Double the usual? I feel like they are hungry and irritated towards the evening. I am new to chicken keeping during such low temperatures. Thank you
     
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Not sure of your layout/setup. Are they in a pen inside the barn set up like a coop? How do you normally feed them and what do you feed? Do they free range or are they in a run?

    Personally I have food and water in the coop 24/7. Even though chickens don't eat after dark, mine will eat right before roosting so they have a full crop to go to bed on. They also eat first thing in the morning when they get up before I let them out. They do go in at various times of the day and eat. I feed an all flock type food that is 20% protein, I also throw out a SMALL amount of cracked corn in the morning, afternoon they usually get veggie/fruit/kitchen scraps or grass and weeds and before bed they get a SMALL amount of either oatmeal or black oil sunflower seeds. Of course there is always free choice oyster shell and grit available also.

    Most chickens do well in cold weather, as long as they have a place to get out of the wind and they can roost in a draft free, dry area that has good ventilation.
     
  3. Urban Flock

    Urban Flock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We keep food and water available 24/7 as well. Agree with the earlier post our chickens eat mostly in the mornings and just before they go to roost. Nibble throughout the day. We keep our feed in a hanging feeder that they can't scratch in. We have no waste of food. If it is going to be a chilly night I toss out a bit of scratch to help them stay a bit warmer through the night.
     
  4. B2B family farm

    B2B family farm Out Of The Brooder

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    [@]Wyorp Rock[@] we have a big metal barn and we made winter home for the girls in two horse stalls. During the summer they were pasture raised in egg mobile. Now they have a door to the outside but don't go out because of the snow. They are not sure about it I guess. We feed them organic layer feed. We follow the bag instruction for amount. Now in the winter we add some oats in the evening. However they only get fed in the morning the layer feed. Not for the rest of the day. I give them kitchen scraps in the afternoon and they have the oats in a separate hanging container available as well. It is usually empty when I get there with the kitchen scraps. Then we sprinkle little bit of oats on the ground before bed. I would say they are without food since 3pm till we sprinkle at about 6pm. And they are trying to get to food to their neighbors turkeys around the 6pm.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
  5. N F C

    N F C dem crazy bones Premium Member

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    My flock has food available to them at all times. They don't seem to over-indulge (meaning, they aren't over weight). They get a mix of BOSS (black oil sunflower seed) and cracked corn for one treat a day and a treat of oatmeal or scrambled eggs or veggies for the second treat. They get out for supervised free range a couple times a day and I find it helpful to use the two treat times to lure them back inside their run.
     
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    They don't eat more in winter they eat more of the purchased feed provided is all. Snow cover or not the ground doesn't provide much food in cold month. Insects are gone, they've already depleted the seeds in area. You simply go through more bag feed in winter. My birds eat around .17 pounds of feed each in summer days due to foraging. Winter is considerably more than that. Not actually tallied it yet but numbers reported of .30 lbs per bird per day for dual purpose bird is about right. Thin egg layer type birds consume less than dual purpose large fowl, how much treats and scraps are supplied all make for actual amount of feed intake impossible to state in any certainty. Individual management variables and bird type would make statements of "your birds should be eating .25 lbs per bird in winter" ludicrous. Birds wont over eat unless a meat bird so providing access to feed all day is advisable. I take feed in at night to deter rats and bears. No need to attract bears, I don't design coops to stop them so it's best not to leave out feed.
     
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  7. yochickiemomma

    yochickiemomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My girls have feed 24/7. Water is a little bit trickier since it freezes. I make sure they get fresh water twice a day. None of my girls seem to be over weight. If I have time in the evening I make them some warm oatmeal to put in their bellies before they go to roost. I Also have a flock block hanging in the coop and about 2-3 times a week I put some homemade scratch mix in a soda bottle will the holes in it. They kick it around the coop. It keeps em from getting to board.
     
  8. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to BYC B2B, we made the PVC feeders so I top them off every other day even though mine could last a week before getting refilled, so they get food access all day and night their mix is 16% layer, Boss, scratch, and free choice oyster shell.
     
  9. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    To be honest if they are trying to get to the turkey feed, then they are most likely hungry. I would hang a feeder with the layer feed for them. Fill it up (I use a 12lb feeder-small flock) with layer feed and leave it all day. They generally will not overeat unless they are meat birds as stated above. Layer feed is designed for balanced nutrition and the oats, scraps, etc. are extras or treats. They are trying to eat the turkey feed so they have a full crop at night. This helps with their rest and also digesting will produce a bit extra body heat during rest.
    To get them outside for a bit, if you have some extra hay or straw, spread some outside on the snow so they can get their footing. You may want to toss out a few of their oats, to entice them out on to the hay. Getting outside even for a short while in natural light will most likely help with them being grumpy.
     
  10. Urban Flock

    Urban Flock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    x2
     

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