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Hens eating too much?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by HenChick414, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. HenChick414

    HenChick414 New Egg

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    Hi everyone!
    So I have a small backyard flock of 4 hens, and have had the same amount for 3 years. However, I raised these hens and have never experienced chickens who eat as much as they do. They go through a 8 lb. bag of food every day. They are small breeds- 2 Cali Whites, 1 Australorp, and a Sex Link. They eat layer feed crumbles, and right now its winter, so they don't get out to scratch around... But still, doesn't that seem like a lot of food for 4 hens? I will fill it in the morning, and it will be gone by night.
    Thank you!
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC.

    The birds are not consuming all of that feed - you are experiencing loss to either waste or consumption by pests, or both. Can you post some photos of the exterior and interior of your coop/run setup? What sort of feeder are you using? Where is the feeder located? If the feeder is over bedding, what type and depth of bedding is it and have you checked the bedding for what amount of feed is in it?
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Excellent post by OGM. Answer her ?'s and the mystery will most likely be solved. Your birds should not be consuming more than 7#/week.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Waste and stealing by other animals.
    Bringing it in at night will eliminate some rodent theft.
    Leaving it in the coop may eliminate some of the wild bird theft.
    Fermenting will eliminate waste.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    Rats, both ground and sky rats like sparrows and starling can clean you out pretty quickly. My feed consumption doubled in November until we finally got all the vermin under control. I put out about the amount they will consume in a day and no more. Time to do some investigation to find out where your feed is going.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I have a question for our OP. Do you mix BOSS and scratch grain in with the layer crumbles by any chance? Is your feeder the hanging kind that spills down into a tray attached at the bottom of the feeder?
     
  7. idealfriends

    idealfriends Just Hatched

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    I make my own feed I add all these grains in equal quantity (white corn,yellow corn,wheat grain,Millet grain,scratch) and these are with 10% ratio of major grains (seasame seed,flash seed,rice) and oats half ratio of major grains .
    Is these ingredients are ok to feed or not
     
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I guess the OP decided not to stick around. If they admitted to mixing scratch and BOSS with the layer feed, I was going to point out that it is a classic way to waste feed as chickens beak out the less appetizing layer feed to expose the tastier seeds in the mix.

    I have a good friend with chickens and he's still not learned this lesson. He moans about his huge feed bill with just four hens, but he mixes scratch in with the layer feed, and it all ends up on the ground.

    Last time he complained, I recommended he ferment his feed. I mix BOSS with my fermented Flock Raiser in winter and the rascals pick all the seeds out as soon as I dish up the FF. But none of it ends up on the ground. They end up eating it all, right down to the very last morsel with zero waste.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Try starting your own thread instead of jumping onto someone else's. Also, be patient for your answers. You may be able to find the info you seek by using the search feature.
     
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    That is an incomplete feed. Rather than being seed eaters, chickens are omnivores. They either need a complete chicken feed or if home made, it needs to be much more varied and diverse, including animal protein. A diet of seeds and grains won't provide the array of vitamins and minerals in the ratios chickens need, but more importantly, will be woefully inadequate in essential amino acids - especially lysine, methionine and tryptophan.
    In nature, there would likely be somewhat relational parts of seeds/grains, animal based foods and greens.
    If you stick with a grain/seed diet, you'll need to supplement animal protein or synthetic amino acids, as well as a vitamin/mineral supplement.
    Commercial chicken feed is adequate because, rather than mixing a bunch of seeds/grains in equal portions, they start with the nutrients chickens need and in what ratios. Then they analyze the ingredients to see what each one contributes to those requirements, then they add synthetic amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fats to compliment that contribution and analyze the result to verify.
    If poultry suffers nutritionally from eating a commercial product, that company wouldn't be in business very long.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
    1 person likes this.

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