Feeding frenzy? Cold weather or what?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by R_Chickens, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. R_Chickens

    R_Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our 20 Hybrid RIR x White Rocks are 6.5 months old now. They have been eating 3 bags of Layer from TSC per month. Now they are eating a bag in just over a week!

    We get the crumble, which is $12.79/bag. It's starting to get cool here in the eves, calling for mid 40's these next few eves here in Western PA. They are drinking a lot of water, too.

    Is this a normal consumption or are they on a temporary feeding frenzy, preparing for cold weather? Or will they continue to eat like this?

    We have the 3 Roos and 17 hens, producing 17-18 eggs per day.

    This is our first flock and first fall with them [​IMG]

    Thanks.
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Well..."just over a week" and three bags a month don't sound that significant a difference to me. I.e. if "just over a week" is say, 9 days, that means they'd go through 3 bags in 27 days versus the 3 bags they used to go through in the 30 days that constitute a month. The days are getting shorter and they may be finding less forage. Also, they are larger now so need more feed AND are possibly getting ready to lay which is a pretty calorie intensive activity.
     
  3. R_Chickens

    R_Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:They have been laying for almost 2 months now [​IMG]

    They will be going through about 4 bags a month. I was considering about a 25% increase from 3 bags to 4 bags per month.

    Also, is this how much they should be eating, or are they being pigs?

    Sorry so many questions, trying to learn everything we can [​IMG]

    - JC
     
  4. Reyvaughn

    Reyvaughn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I noticed mine just went through 120lbs in 5 days when they used to have about 20-30lbs left over from 100lbs after 7 days. They aren't wasting it... They forage from 6:30am to 7:15pm-ish. They have actually gained time because I used to let them out around 10-11am until 8:30/9:00pm until two weeks ago. I don't know what's going on, but my wallet isn't liking it. Oh, I have 77 chickens and only about 11 are laying. They range from 6wks to 30wks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  5. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I'm thinking 50# a week for 20 chickens is just about right, and it will stay about there.

    Imp
     
  6. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow, 50# a week for twenty chickens! I don't feed nearly that much! Mine must be foraging a lot more than I thought they were. I'm only feeding about a pound a day. I put more in when they finish it off. Mine haven't started laying yet and my largest are Easter Eggers, Egyptians and silver leghorns, so not large chickens but I'm still surprised that I'm feeding so much less. I have 20 as well. Mine are between 14-18 weeks old.
    I do feed quite a few fresh fruit and veggie scraps a day and I do see a lot of crickets and other types of bugs in the garden for them to catch. They must eat a lot of bugs.
    When we irrigate or I water the garden they don't eat much feed at all, probably because they have a bug feeding frenzy.
     
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    If your getting waste they are sure old enough to switch to pellets which significantly reduce waste. If you free range this is the start whats to come, less foraging to none at all come winter. Something to think about is if they are getting enough grit, especially come snowfall. Grit allows them to process and use the feed intake opposed to passing much of it through. Because we free range I completely forgot about grit last winter and yeah, they really started to go through the feed. It reduced once I supplemented.
     
  8. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have read on a hatchery site that the brown egg layers efficiency is 4.0 - 4.3 lbs. of feed per dozen eggs produced. If your bird are consuming disproportionate amount, might want to look for waste. I use pellets, which make it easier to eyeball waste.
     
  9. R_Chickens

    R_Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good info from all, thanks!

    I didn't think about grit. We feed it, but it isn't always available. We need to make a larger 'feeder for it.

    We have been using crumbles still, as it is about $2 or so less a bag than the pellets. Are pellets that much better?

    I guess if we figure out conversion, we've been getting a steady 17 eggs every day (occasionally one extra or one less).

    That means:

    17eggs x 7 days /12 eggs per dozen = 9.917 dozen per week x 4.0 lbs feed/dozen = 39.67 lbs per week.

    So we are just about right? These hybrids are supposed to be a little bit better than average for egg production IIRC.


    We have learned so much from this site. We are doing the deep litter method, chicken nipple waterer (5 gal bucket), and DE as we add new pine shavings. Even experienced chicken folk are surprised when they meet our chickens and they are friendly, calm, and the coop doesn't smell bad [​IMG]

    - JC
     

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