Food and water questions

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Chicken_Girl75495, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. Chicken_Girl75495

    Chicken_Girl75495 Out Of The Brooder

    How much can one expect to feed? I have 22 chickens, including four adolescents, one roo and two of the remaining actually laying fairly regularly. I know they slow down in colder weather, and I'm impressed with whichever two are staying busy.

    I'm paying about $14 for 50# of the Layena, and I supplement in the cold weather with oatmeal. I found some for 59 cents a pound at the grocery (bulk) and make that with some juice and coconut milk, some pieces of cut up fruit and whatever I might have. They get enough to nearly fill them up (judging by the apparent volume of their crops when they have finished eating), and i still am going through 50# every 10 days or so.

    The DH has been very kind not to kid me about this cost saving measure I have gotten us into, making our own eggs. But I can tell if he doesn't get to joke about the $10 per egg soon, he is going to burst.

    Am I underfeeding? Overfeeding? Should I be giving them something different during colder weather? Maybe mixing with scratch? Incidentally, the adolescents actively refused scratch when they were in their own room next to the house. They actually went days without eating--I watched the level of the feed for that amount of time, then couldn't stand it anymore and gave them other stuff.

    ALSO--we made one of those waterers with the little nipple things, PVC pipe, 15 gallon plastic jar recycled from the pool chemicals, etc. Worked great until the weather got cold. We find no splits or other damage (and this is north Texas, so we rarely get a good enough freeze to damage anything), but now the farthest nipple just keeps dripping. DH took that one out, taped up the hole, and the next one started doing the same thing. The ones closer to the reservoir don't leak and seem to work fine, until the water has all leaked out the most distal nip, and then we have thirsty chickens and muddy chicken feet.

    I'll probably just start carrying a bucket of tepid water out there so they have something to sip on, but if anyone has any ideas about how to adjust the waterer so that it works even when it is cold (obviously it isn't going to do anything if the water is ice), I'm sure open to suggestion. I thought about making the holes bigger and putting some kind of silicon or something around the nipples, but I'm not convinced that would work.

    TIA!
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  2. davidb

    davidb Chillin' With My Peeps

    590
    1
    139
    Dec 15, 2008
    north east Georgia
    I cant help you with the feed ratio, But I can tell you that there's no savings in keeping chickens, you just have to like them, Like you my feed is about 14.00 a bag, and you can buy eggs around here for $1.00 a dozen,
     
  3. Sc00ter4900

    Sc00ter4900 Chillin' With My Peeps

    236
    0
    109
    Jun 7, 2009
    Massachusetts
    I have 2 RI reds and 3 plymouth rocks . 50 pounds is 10.50 and last 2 And a half months some times 3 months depends on the amont of treats i give. I want more though LOL
    Scotty
     
  4. Chicken_Girl75495

    Chicken_Girl75495 Out Of The Brooder

    Okay, seems like I probably am doing OK then. I thought I was messing something up.

    Just got back from checking out that treat thread and was pleased to see that I am doing a lot of things right.

    I will admit I really enjoy them. There's nothing like coming around the corner and having them all race to the fence calling me. ("hey, woman with food!") Love to feed them from my hands, and enjoy it especially when the shy ones get a little braver. I worry about my adolescents, not very bright, depending on me to actually put them to bed in the coop and get them up in the morning. Hopefully they will grow out of that, lol.

    So do we just make sure they always have food available? Do the chickens eat the right amount? (I'm suddenly feeling a bit dumb.)

    I will say I have never in my life seen or tasted eggs like the ones my girls produce. The shells are so solid that they are actually hard to break. The yolks are about the same, a wonderful deep sunflower yellow and so well developed that you almost have to poke them on purpose to break them. And the flavor.

    Here I am singing to the choir.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  5. mayden

    mayden Out Of The Brooder

    65
    0
    29
    Jun 22, 2009
    Tioga, PA
    Quote:I have 13 hens and 2 roos and I go through 50# 10 days to 2 weeks. I do give them some oat grain to scratch on. I only let them out in the run when the sun comes out and they rarely free range this time of year.
     
  6. Chicken_Girl75495

    Chicken_Girl75495 Out Of The Brooder

    Quote:Looks like maybe I could be more generous with the feed. It's still sunny more often than not, here, and I haven't thought to confine them if it gets really bad. So they run around loose in their yard from dawn to dusk.

    Thanks for your input--helps to know what successful chickeners do.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. chickeydee

    chickeydee Chillin' With My Peeps

    179
    0
    109
    Jul 9, 2009
    Do your birds free range at all ? I live in Tx and I have 25 hens and I feed them 2 cups of laying feed and let them free range . I give them scratch every now and then . I get 21 eggs each day and 4 of my birds are in molt ,so they are not laying . They seem to be happy with that ,but if things change than I may give them alittle more . I guess you need to experiment with them and go from there .
     
  8. Chicken_Girl75495

    Chicken_Girl75495 Out Of The Brooder

    Quote:Where in Texas? I am getting two to three eggs per day and was feeling pretty pleased with that, since it is colder now. Mine free range within their chainlink fenced "yard," which is about 30x25 and used to be very, very grassy. Now, not so much grass. [​IMG]

    I just put the pellets in the two dog feeders I have, with the doors propped open, and they eat at will. They seem to enjoy scratching around on the ground as well. I was just reading that adding flax seed to their diet will increase Omega 3 (the good omega) and so does letting them eat grass. I read that if chickens are given free access to unlimited grass, they will make it 35% of their diet. A strict grain diet, according to the site, made for high levels of Omega 6 (the much less favorable omega).

    Here's where I found it. http://ceplacer.ucdavis.edu/files/46800.pdf The date on it is January 2008.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by