Figured Out How Many Cups of Feed Equals One Pound!!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by CynazarGoldens, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. Hello all,
    While searching the question "how much to feed adult chickens per day", we find that the answer seems to be "1/4 lb per chicken, 1/3 lb if it is a very large chicken".

    I don't know about you, but the feed scoopers that I use aren't measured by the pound!!

    This question has been eating at me for weeks now, SO- I finally broke out my postage scale and measuring cups, and got to weighing chicken feed. The feed I used for weighing was Dumor Grower/Finisher Crumble.

    I discovered that:

    • Exactly 3/4 cup = 1/4 lb. So one average size chicken should be fed 3/4 of a cup per day.
    • Exactly 1 cup = 1/3 lb. So one very large chicken should be fed 1 whole cup per day.

    So if I have 4 average size hens, I should be giving them 3 cups of feed per day. 8 average size hens get 6 cups per day. And so on. I'll have to see if the weight varies a lot by brand or formula, but at least now I have SOME idea of how much feed equals one pound!

    Hope this information helps someone out there desperately searching for information on how much they should feed their chickens.

  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    A bunch of folks will no doubt chime in with "just free feed 24/7"

    My take is this. Feed the amount you are projecting. Feed most of that amount in the morning. When you check the feed in late afternoon, just look. Is it dead empty? If so, when was it emptied? By noon? This will tell you that your morning feeding was seriously deficient for their appetites and needs. I feed as much as they can eat and virtually finish before going to roost. That means I've fed them right. Experience comes into play here. Were there ranging opportunities? Was there table scraps thrown as well? If a balanced feed is offered, the reality is that most chickens never "over eat".
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  3. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009

    The thing you have to keep in mind is that if you are one brand and I am feeding another those two brands might weigh out differently when measured in cups. Also chickens eat to fill there energy needs, so if your birds are on a Low energy feed they are going to eat more than birds on a High energy. [different feeds have different feeding requirements]
    Weight of feed should always be use and if you don't want to weigh the the free feed.

    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    I know I said a while it would be nice to know how much a cup feed weighs. With all the people asking if this number of cups was the right amount, the conversion to weight would then be easier. That being my reason for wanting to knowing. Yeah I know feeds have different weights per volume. Each grain has a different weight per bushel and the moisture can vary too, so the different feed mixes end up different. And the makers do change their recipes according to whats available and thus change the exact weight per volume. Having a general idea of what the weight per cup is for me good. So thank you Jenne, for doing something that saves me from scratching my itch to know.
  5. You're very welcome! Glad I could give you a rough idea of what equals what. I'm pretty good at eyeballing weights, when they're 10, 40, 60 lbs, but ask me to guess how much 1/4 a pound is and forget it! That's why I did my little experiment, and figured I'd share my findings.

    Fred's Hens & Chris09

    Of course different chickens will need different amounts of feed, depending on their breed, age, weight, activity level, and whether or not they are allowed to free range. I'm no expert on chicken diets. I do know, however, that when you search the internet for information on how much to feed a chicken, most of the answers are "it depends". The only actual informative answer that you can seem to find is 1/4 - 1/3 lb of feed per chicken. I don't agree or disagree with that measurement, because we all know that each chicken is different. Since I don't use a scale to feed my chickens, I was curious to see how many scooper fulls were equal to this amount.
    Of course different feeds and formulas will weigh differently. That's why I included the exact name of the feed that I weighed. Maybe when I have a little more free time I may purchase a few bags of the other brands and weigh those too.
    I had no clue how many scoops 1/4 of a pound of chicken feed was, and I'm sure there are many people out there who still have no clue.
    For those who are new to chickens, having a rough idea of where to start is a great help.

    Also, it's important to consider that chickens eat when they're bored, and freeloading pests will sometimes get into the feed, so leaving food out all day and refilling it when it is empty may not be the most economical solution. Chickens are built to scavange, so they should be fed small amounts throughout the day.

    As for me? For the time being my chickens are hanging out in my porch, so whenever they are hungry or need something they will come and pester me on my way in and out of the house LOL. Personally, I think they wouldn't be as friendly with me if I filled their feeders to the brim every day.

  6. Don P

    Don P Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 14, 2012
    I agree that it is best not to leave feed out free choice. Pellets and crumbles, which are not a great food source, may be an exception but grains and cracked grains should be fed by the pound. Roughly 1/4 lb. per hen per day. So only put out in the morning what they will eat before roosting.

    It may be best to feed a smaller portion in the morning and then if it is all gone when you collect eggs another smaller portion given that will be gone by roosting time. If not no need to add more.

    This was my comment under the thread How much to feed:

    One reason not to feed hens free choice, all they want, if you are not using pellets or crumble, is because with mash or cracked grain feeds they will eat the parts they like and leave the rest.
    They will leave a lot of fines and not get all the nutrients they need. If new food gets refilled they will wait for that new food to come and just pick out some and leave others so they never get a balanced diet.

    If you feed only what they will eat all of, then you can be sure they will get all the nutrients they need and a balanced diet. A little less than up to 1/4 pound of feed per hen per day. And if they get out on some grass they will get more nutrients. If not you may go slightly above 1/4 lb. They need their stomachs full of nutrients and protein to be making and egg for 23-25 hours.

    My hens prefer my non-GMO organic cracked grain and fermented cracked grain feed to the organic pellets I put out. So I can put them both out together and leave the pellets out free choice.
    because when I put the cracked grain and ferment feed out for the day, they eat it all 1st. They eat all of the grain feed not just the parts they like leaving the rest and this way they get all the nutrients added onto the grain. And I don't leave it out free choice and have left over over night.

    I can leave the pellets out all day so if they want more they can have them. Pellets are the only food I would leave out free choice and only if they eat all of their other grain feed first.
    If they eat more of the pellets, because all the feed and nutrients are in each pellet, there is no way to pick and choose, they still get a balanced meal.

    This way they do not over eat the grain as they might if it was left out free choice all day and get fat. Yes laying hens can eat too much grain and get fat which may reduce laying.

    And this way there is no left over feed so you don't attract rats and birds to steal you feed and contaminate the runs. And if you do leave pellets out and don't put them up overnight you may want to get a rat proof feeder like a treadle feeder or some other pipe or tube feeder that limits pest access.

    Most pellets instead of containing grain are full of junk, bran, husks, grain by products, screenings, etc. which are the powder and dust left over after the flour milling process. It is basically a waste product reclaimed and then sugar and corn syrup added to it and heated to make a feed pellet. I would not feed those to my hens.

    No wonder hens come running to when people feed scratch, they are starving to death and want some real grain.
    My hens don't come running to me when I go out because they are not starving; unless they find out I have some special treat for them I have tossed out on the ground or in feed tubs, coconut, pumpkin seeds, or some vegetable scraps, then they come.

    So consider just putting out what they will eat that day in feed, other than pellets. And consider not feeding standard pellets. You can get some good organic ground up whole grain pellets, instead of middlings, millings, screenings, by-products, generic plant products, etc. with hydrogenated oils, sugar, corn sweet liquor, clay, and other heated and processed junk food. Its like trying to live off of Mc Donalds for you hens. READ THE FEED LABELS
    Yes they will like the sugary junk food pellets as much as your kids like candy but that does not mean it is healthy. That is why my hens don't love the pellets I use. They nibble a few pieces here and there during the day.

    The reason we have hens is to have good eggs and meat. Remember: You are what you eat ate!!
    Its worth a few cents a dozen eggs to get the better food into them. And into you
    1 person likes this.
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    You do know that this is a 2 year old thread, right?
  8. nanileie

    nanileie New Egg

    Oct 12, 2014
    "8 average size hens get 6 cups per day."
    FYI I was searching for exact information on this subject and was getting confused after reading so many different suggestions. Just wanted you to know that your information really helped. I have 8 chickens, just joined BYC today and am glad I did! Thank you.
  9. Don P

    Don P Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 14, 2012
    Flock Master, Yes, but just as I looked something up and recently read this thread so do others as the person who just posted below your post and above this one.

    People search for a subject or topic and pull up old thread to find the info they need all the time. You don't ever do that?
  10. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Not that I am aware of.
    I leave old treads buried.

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