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how much do i feed my hens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by tomm, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. tomm

    tomm New Egg

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    HI I have just got two of my own red sex im not to sure how much I should be feeding them i had them about 3 weeks and have been feeding them about 2 handfuls of laying pellets in the morning and a few dried meal worms in the afternoon is this right ?, they have yet to lay but since I have had them they have been malting but has now seemed to have stopped as you can tell I am a new at this so any tips will help thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

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

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    The "average" consumption by a laying hen is estimated to be 1/4-1/3 pound of commercial feed per day. Are these the only two birds you have in your flock at this time? Are you opposed to free feeding (using a feeder, filling it and allowing them to eat at will based on what they want on any given day)? What is the body condition of your birds - do they fell thin and bony when you pick them up? Proper nutrition is tied to production, so you will definitely want to provide a good, steady diet if you want them to give you eggs.
     
  3. tomm

    tomm New Egg

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    ok thanks yes they are the only two birds I have , I have just purchased a 1kg feeder I filled half way this morning and they have nearly eaten the lot with in 4 hours , they looked ok when I had them but noticed they both dropped a lot of feathers but now its has came to a stop the skin has gone from a pinky colour to a very dark colour is this normal ?
     
  4. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I switched from feeding my flock daily, to free-feed, I think they ate about 20lbs of food the first night. After that, food consumption went
    back to normal.

    They'd probably been underfed.


    As to the rest of your question, I'm not really sure what you're asking - you need more punctuation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
  5. tomm

    tomm New Egg

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    ok thanks as for the other part of the question when I bought the birds they looked healthy , but after a week of having them they lost a lot of feathers but they now seemed to have stopped losing the feathers and I have noticed that there skin has turned a dark colour is this because of the molting ?
     
  6. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sunburn. With out the feathers to protect them, they burn.
     
  7. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We've only had chickens for about 18 months, but we've had several different groups of them. We still have some of the original chickens, which were 10 months old when we got them. I'm not sure what a normal molt looks like. Such as, is losing a bunch of feathers to the point of lots of bare skin is normal for a molt or not? Some of our chickens have molted, seen by stopping laying eggs and they look ruffled and scruffy for a while, but we've not had any chickens with bare skin.

    Perhaps they could also be picking each other's feathers? I hear this is common if they aren't getting enough protein because feathers are high in protein.

    In any case, it sounds like they were perhaps not getting enough to eat and it sounds like a good move to get them a feeder and have it filled with feed.

    If they are caged and not allowed to roam freely outdoors, also be sure to supply them with grit...fine gravel they eat that is necessary for them to properly digest food since they don't have teeth to chew with. Grit is not commonly mixed with feed, so you need to offer it in a small container on the side...they will eat as much as they need. Your feed store should have some.

    The creators of BackYard Chickens also have written a pretty decent book called "Raising Chickens for Dummies". Much of the info that is in the book can be gleaned online, but it can be useful to have it all in one place.
     
  8. tomm

    tomm New Egg

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    ok thanks a lot , my hens are free to roam so should be fine with grit , I have started using the feeder so they can eat as much as they need
     

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