Free choice feed or rationed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by DreamsInPink, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was just wondering if you all leave out as much feed as your chickens can eat, or do you use ration it to where there is x amount of feed per chicken? I've seen conversations where both seem to be acceptable.

    What do you prefer, and why? Thanks!
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    My chickens have food available at all times during daylight hours. They eat the feed that they want and free range when they want. I have seen (and bought) birds where feed is rationed and the difference in appearance after a couple of weeks at my place is very different. I am not suggesting by this however, that rationing feed will result in underfed chickens - not at all - its just my experience, thats all.

    I prefer to offer feed all the time, as i see no benefit in rationing. Additionally, having food on offer all the time cuts down on food based aggression and ensures that all my flock (differing ages) can access the food that they require.

    CT
     
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  3. ShanandGem

    ShanandGem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    By the loosest possible definition I ration, but I feed 4x a day and base my portions on how much was consumed the previous meal. If they cleaned their plate at lunch, they get a heaping helping at dinner, etc.
    The only reason I don't offer free choice is because I grind my own food and it's expensive. It doesn't take long to be able to gauge portions though.
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I keep my feeders full all the time, same as CTKen. The feeders are in the coop, not outside, so no feed is spilled outside of the coop and run. Some feeders allow less spillage, and I'm transitioning to them (premier1supplies.com). Mary
     
  5. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

    I really like the idea of conserving where/when I can. But at the same time, I'm looking at feeders that will hold a lot of feed. And as long as I'm not seeing a lot waste and spillage, I'll be happy. They will be out in at least a run everyday, if not free ranging. I'm expecting that to cut their feed consumption considerably, during summer months anyway.
     
  6. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I use a plastic bucket with a series of rectangles cut out. The height from the base to the rectangles is 20cms and the width of the rectangles is 9cms. I can put 3-4 days food in them which is ok for me and spillage is kept to a minimum.

    Heres a photo
    [​IMG]

    I know there are more refined feeders out there, but they work for me. I keep rain out by using a plastic table and corrugated plastic.

    [​IMG]
    Just a thought...


    CT
     
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  7. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you for the pictures. You don't find them having a hard time reaching to the bottom once the level of feed gets low?
     
  8. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    No, I also use trough-like plastic plant pots as feeders and they could eat the feed right down to the bottom - they measure 20 cm high, so thats what i have used. Its easy to lower the height of the feeding squares - just cut a bit lower down.

    CT
     
  9. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps


    Do you have pictures of what type of feeder you are transitioning to? I've seen a couple home made ones that I like.. using a 5 gal bucket and pvc elbows... but, Idk if I really want to leave /that/ much feed out all the time.
     
  10. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I built one of those and it's the best thing I've done so far in my short time with chicks. Cut way down on the waste. I saved enough in feed in two days to pay for the bucket and 2 elbows. I had a 7 pound feeder from Rural King that I was filling once a day. With the bucket feeder I put 25 pounds in it every 12-14 days. That is with no free ranging, I'm going to be letting them out more in the evenings.
     

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