Feeding too much?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by marilyngurl22, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. marilyngurl22

    marilyngurl22 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 2, 2015
    I have 9 ladies. 3 Easter Eggers and 6 BOs. They free range on just over an acre of fenced in yard. I'm feeding about 50lbs of layer feed a month. I'm very particular about the feed they eat but with that, comes price. I'm fine with that, need be, but my question is: are they supposed to eat that much feed every month? It struck me recently that maybe they are eating more feed than needed because I make sure their feeder is full constantly. I read a while back about letting chickens go a few days without feed to encourage more foraging. Should I be offering less feed or does 50lbs for 9 hens sound about right? Any tips on minimizing the amount of feed they eat? We feed scraps and/or treats and/or chicken suit blocks almost daily also. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2016
  2. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No do not stop feeding them. One acre is not enough to support 9 birds solely, this time of year. Those rules about restricting feed are generally meant for meat birds who are programed to over eat.
    50 pounds a month does sound high. Is it possible that they are not eating it, and instead are kicking it out and wasting it?
     
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  3. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    50 lbs. per month is only .19 lb a day per bird. This is not too much feed! Chickens do not "eat like a bird". If your ground is good they will eat less in the warm months, but they will likely always eat feed.
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Free choice feeding of layer or all flock feed, with oyster shell on the side, is the only way to go. There are feeders that discourage waste (spilling) of feed, but restricting laying hens is very poor husbandry. Mary
     
  5. marilyngurl22

    marilyngurl22 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sorry I missed these responses!! Thanks for the feedback. I have no intention of withholding feed but didn't know if that was a bad call. So glad this isn't "abnormal". But with the feed I'm feeding it's heavy on the wallet. Time to look into making my own feed!
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Making a quality balanced ration will cost way more than buying bags at the feed store! Mary
     
  7. marilyngurl22

    marilyngurl22 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm paying $75/month on feed now. Would it cost more than that you think?
     
  8. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It depends on what you do. To get the same nutritional value for every bite like a commercial feed pellet, yes it would probably cost more. But you can have perfectly healthy chickens without giving them carefully measured nutrients.
    The biggest, most important thing you must remember, is chickens are omnivores. They require a wide variety of food to remain healthy. You, like me, free range that helps. But it will not completely see to all their needs, you just do not have enough space. In the winter months I feed my birds meat once a week (back 60 years ago that was one of the farm boys jobs, trap something for the chickens to eat) I just give them enough that they can quickly eat it in about 10 minutes, generally I feed them organ meat. I also offer a wide variety of kitchen scraps (I have 2 toddlers so have more then most) you also should add a variety of grains, if you look you will find a thread that discusses homemade chicken feed recipes.
    Homemade feeds and commercial feeds are comparable to a person on a very strict diet that ensures they get exactly what their body needs, no extras, no deficiency. Compared to someone with a more casual eating style, someone who eats healthy, but sometimes they more of one vitamin and less of another. This is OK as long as next time they get that vitamin. Chickens, like people, survive very well on a casual diet. As long as it is varied, and you keep you in mind what chickens can eat, and what is toxic.
     
  9. marilyngurl22

    marilyngurl22 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the tips. I have a toddler too so our ladies get lots of food from that picky boy! I'll stick with the feed for now and add in some organ meat. Raw, I assume? We are moving to almost 10 acres but hubby doesn't want the poop near the house anymore so I'll have to start clipping wings so they can have the run of the pasture without getting in our space and driving him nuts. That should allow for more natural food sources for them too. Thanks again!
     
  10. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is what I do. I keep their feed near their water and allow them to eat as needed. They go out and range, eat my kitchen scraps and if they still need more eat the feed (mostly depends on the day, it has been wet lately so I know they are filling up on worms)
     

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