Feeding Program

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Roan, Oct 25, 2014.

1. RoanSongster

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Apr 8, 2013
West Virginia, U.S.A.
Hi there, I know it's been awhile since I've said anything in here and a lot has changed. We got our first Australorp!!! Woohoo!

He's a giant next to our Barred Rocks, Production Reds and especially our Ameracaunas! lol

Anyway, I decided that since there are so many opinions and no exact science for feeding that the best way to find out is to test your own flock, I came up with this schedule and it's got me quite concerned.

Kilograms
Meal Bucket Fill Grain Left Fill Left Grain Consumed Total Birds Cons/Bird
Sat Breakfast
0.30
4.40 4.10 1.50 1.20 2.90 38.00 0.08
Lunch 0.30 5.50 5.20 2.40 2.10 3.10 38.00 0.08
Daily Total 0.60 9.90 9.30 3.90 3.30 6.00 38.00 0.16

Pounds
Bucket Fill Grain Left Fill Left Grain Consumed Total Birds Cons/Bird
0.66 9.70 9.04 3.31 2.65 6.39 38.00 0.17
0.66 12.13 11.46 5.29 4.63 6.83 38.00 0.18
1.32 21.83 20.50 8.60 7.28 13.23 38.00 0.35

Pounds Consumed Cons/Bird Cost Cost/Bird
50 12.79% 0.34% \$14.83 \$0.05
50 13.67% 0.36% \$14.83 \$0.05
50 26.46% 0.70% \$14.83
\$0.10

So now, the breakdown:

The scales I use measure in kg's which is why I needed the conversion.

(Words in () are the table labels)

1. Weigh the bucket which acts as the feed dispenser. (Bucket)
2. Fill the bucket with feed to more than the flock can eat (Fill)
3. Subtract the bucket weight (Grain)
4. Fill feeders
5. Watch until they all leave the feeders
6. Immediately recover the feeders
7. Pour the leftovers back into the bucket.
8. Measure the leftovers (Left Fill)
9. Subtract the bucket weight (Left Grain)
10. Record the consumed amount (Consumed)
11. Record the total flock (Total Birds)
12. Divide Consumed by Total Birds (Cons/Bird)

As you can see, I took some time to do this and with only 38 birds, it wasn't that difficult.

To convert everything from kg's to lb's, I simply multiplied the kg's by 2.20462262

That was breakfast. For lunch, I repeated the above

As you can see, my birds are eating a whopping 0.16 kg's (0.35 lb's) per bird!!!
That's 6 kg's (13.23 lb's) of feed per day!!!

At this rate, my 38 birds will have consumed 1 50 lb bag in 3.8 days!!!
That's 8.05 bags per month!!!

Here is the flock makeup:
1 Australorp Rooster
18 Hens (Plymouth Rocks, Production Reds and Ameracaunas)
11 Teenagers Mixed
1 Duck

So my question is;
Should I continue with this feeding routine or cut back on how much feed I'm giving them per day?

1 50 lb bag in 4 days is really unbearable on my wallet!

It's late October and that means Autumn and less insects and such for the kids to eat but still, it seems very high to me.

2. Den in PennSongster

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Dec 15, 2011
SE Pa.
Depends on what you goal is, eggs, or just to have them around. If its eggs then cutting them back will cut into egg production. If it is just having them around then they can survive on less. .35lbs is near the upper range of what you would expect a chicken to eat. I would suggest leaving the feed out for day and letting them eat at a relaxed rate. They may be stuffing themselves knowing that the feed will be withdrawn in a short time. Ultimately if how much they eat is a burden then you could cut costs by downsizing. One question, you use the term grains, Are you feeding grain(s) or a commercial feed?

3. aartChicken Juggler!

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Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
Wonders what the protein content of the feed is, that could make a big difference.
If you're not feeding a balanced poultry formulation they maybe missing some nutrient so are eating more trying to get it.

Also agrees free feeding is the way to go....try it for a week and see what they eat.

4. RoanSongster

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Apr 8, 2013
West Virginia, U.S.A.
I'm feeding them Purina Layena Pellets

16% Crude Protein (Min)

Saturday was the first time I've actually started recording their intake. Prior to that, I was feeding them .25 lbs scattered on the ground. But I was doing it all in one feeding, so I'm sure that they weren't getting all of it. Wild birds more than likely got a good deal which is why I decided to test how much they were consuming in separate feedings.

I basically started out with the birds for fun and they were paying for their own feed through egg sales. Now, I'd have to charge way too much per dozen to offset the cost.

Of course, the majority of my current flock are non-layers which really hurts the cost/carton but this seems very high to me. I'll keep collecting data to see how it goes for awhile and make adjustments as need be. It could be that they are adjusting to a duel feeding schedule.

Thanks for the input.

5. aartChicken Juggler!

50,370
30,242
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Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
I free feed my 15 in a feeder in the coop, they are totally confined-no free range.
They go thru 50# of 20% protein crumble in the feeder and 25# of scratch grains spread in the run in about 4 weeks, give or take, depending on other scraps they get.
That includes spillage, some of which does not get gleaned off the floor. I don't lose many scratch grains in the run because the chooks run off the wild birds.

I keep track of the usage by recording the number of eggs daily and calculating the number of eggs gathered and sold in the time I use up one bag of crumble and half a bag of scratch in a spread sheet. With a rooster and several non laying hens am still able to cover the feed costs with egg sales.

I also can keep an eye on usage by putting the same number of scoops in the feeder at the same time every day, sometimes there's some left over(if they've had a good amount of kitchen or other scraps/treats), sometimes they are gathered around waiting for me to fill the feeder.

I had to use this system religiously for a few months or so before I got a good handle on accurate numbers.

Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
6. RoanSongster

414
57
113
Apr 8, 2013
West Virginia, U.S.A.
Would you be willing to share your spreadsheet? I'd love to see your layout and formulae. Thanks.

50,370
30,242
1,172
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop

8. RoanSongster

414
57
113
Apr 8, 2013
West Virginia, U.S.A.
Lol That sounds like some of my spreadsheets.

They start out very focused but quickly become a conglomerate of info and formulas for everything I happen to be working on through the day. lol

9. matt44644Songster

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Sep 14, 2014
Sanilac County,Michigan
400 lbs a month sounds high to me.

Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
10. Den in PennSongster

3,418
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Dec 15, 2011
SE Pa.
matt44644: The average chicken, depending on size, breed etc, will eat somewhere between .25 and.33 pounds of feed a day. Using the .33lbs a day, .33 lbs x 38 chickens = 12.54 lbs a day, 12.45 lbs x 30 days = 376 lbs a month. So is the .35 lb a day a little much, maybe. But he did change the way they were fed so some adjustment to the method change should be considered. And a couple of days may not tell the whole story.