Feeding { How Much }

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by CountryRoosterUSA, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. CountryRoosterUSA

    CountryRoosterUSA Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've got 15 laying hens, they stay in a coop with a 8' by 20' run.
    They have feed available 24,7. But I was wondering, if I only feed them once a day how much feed would they need ? { Just Curious }
    Having feed available 24,7 equals considerable waste. [​IMG]
     
  2. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure why the food is being 'wasted.'
    Do you mean they eat a lot or are spilling too much feed?
    Keep in mind that during the winter, chickens will eat way more feed because there are so few bugs/grass available.
    If the feed is being wasted because it's too powdery, you may want to switch to a larger crumble or pellets.
    Keeping feed available 24/7 is best; especially since it's winter and they will need the extra calories.
     
  3. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    15 chickens would eat 4-5 lbs. a day especially in winter, depending on what size birds. Light birds like leghorns eat 1/4 lb. each/day & dual purpose type would be 1/3 lb. or so. Could be even more if it's cold.
     
  4. Falkenhof

    Falkenhof Out Of The Brooder

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    If you have a good set up and a proper type of food there should be little waste. Hens really don't "over eat" in the same way say, a dog, would. Be sure the food isn't too finely ground, they will just kick it around because they can't pick at it as easy. Hung feeders or feeders with edges or in the form of homemade blocks make any minimal waste [such as deification on or in the feeders] much less. Room is also a factor. Crowded chickens will waste feed because they will tip feeders over, run through them, etc. Minimal requirements are not 'ideal' requirements.

    If a flock is prone to knocking over feeders and grain is piling up remove the feeders until all the grain on the floor is eaten (that isn't contaminated or showing signs of mold if you live in damp areas).

    A hens metabolism is highly important for her to produce eggs. When there is a lack of energy her metabolism shuts down, the organs slow, the glucose levels drop and as a result it delays her egg laying. Hens will want to eat small amounts through the day and this keeps her metabolism up and her egg production high. When you feed once a day with not enough land to free-forage all 'non-essential' organs will 'shut off'. These include the ovaries. Her metabolism will slow until 24 hours later. If you are free ranging one large amounts of pasture land, then offering a small amount of grain 24/7 may encourage them forage a little bit more than wait around for dominant hens to finish their share.

    My layer flock of 6 rarely waste any food (free choice +scratch/feed block/scraps/meal worms/ whatever that day dictates). I will perhaps loose 2 oz of layer feed ever 2 weeks or so from either me choosing to clean everything or if one of them poops in it. They lay daily, thick shelled eggs, no defects, and very healthy birds without being over weight or under weight.

    My advice is to free-choice feed. You can reduce amounts of feed by free-ranging. Protein can also reduce the amount of grain you feed.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    X2. Great advice. Hens just don't get fat--they're not going to waste the feed unless the feeder isn't designed well or they're overcrowded.

    The basic rule of thumb is to assume 1/4 pound of layer pellets per chicken, per day. But that varies greatly depending on the forage outside, what treats you feed, etc. We go through 200 pounds in 12 days when there's snow on the ground, but 200 lbs in three-four weeks in the summer. It always SEEMS like there must be a problem those first super cold days when all of a sudden the feed hopper empties as if by magic, but it's just increased consumption. And since I want them to lay well, I have to accept it and move on.
     
  6. 12lilfeet

    12lilfeet Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for sharing this information! I was wondering if I should be switching to feeding a few times a day vs. constant food source. Being winter the feeder is in the coop but the girls can go in and out. Should the food and water move outside? If so they wouldn't have access at night. Thanks.
     
  7. bamachicks8

    bamachicks8 Chillin' With My Peeps

    WelI i don't know about the food but they should have access to water at all times
     
  8. 12lilfeet

    12lilfeet Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you... Yes, I do have water outside but it's been hard to keep it from freezing. The water in the coop does not freeze though.
     
  9. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    We only have food inside the coop. We have water both inside and outside. In the winter, the outside water is usually frozen, but the hens spend a lot more time inside anyway, so it evens out.
     
  10. MetallicBlue

    MetallicBlue Out Of The Brooder

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    Great information here. I have 15 hens that are only about 2 weeks old now. They are in my barn in a cage with a heat lamp. They seem to be fine on space and since we are in Florida our heating seems sufficient. They aren't huddled together or anything. I do notice that they will knock the food out of their feeder and prefer to eat it off of the bottom of the cage. I see people suggesting pellets in stead of crumbles. I'm wondering if they are too young to try that yet or not. When they are older they do have a coop with a run that is fully enclosed to keep out dogs, coyotes, raccoons and other predators in the area. On the feed thing, how much should they be eating at this age and should I keep refilling the feeder when there is tons of food on the floor or do I let it go a little first?
     

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