How much feed per hen?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Chicken Nugget, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. Chicken Nugget

    Chicken Nugget Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2008
    North Carolina
    We are having a problem with rats getting in the coop and eating our chickens' grain crumbles. Our chickens currently free-feed.

    So we would like to go just feeding once a day, and only what the hens will eat at one time so we aren't paying to feed the rats. [​IMG]

    They are not free range, but we do supplement often with veggie scraps in the warm months. We supplement with scratch in the winter months.

    We have our chickens seperated into two flocks: one flock is five hens born in spring of 2007.

    The other is a flock consisting of about 6 pullets, one cockerel, and two small laying hens (Polish).

    How much feed should I put out for each flock or per bird?

    Is it okay to just feed once in the morning and supplement with something in the afternoon?

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aren't you concerned that the rats may be feeding on your chickens next??

    I'd do my very best to find a way to keep the rats away from your birds - and the feed.

    Steve
     
  3. Chicken Nugget

    Chicken Nugget Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2008
    North Carolina
    No, that hasn't really been a concern. The rats have been around since we first got chickens a year and a half ago, and we've never lost a chicken to them.

    I wasn't aware they even eat full-grown chickens? Of course, some of ours are pullets, but they're a pretty good size now.

    We've done everything else we can do to get rid of them, but they are not nesting in our yard. They nest in a neighbor's yard that is full of old sheds and piles of wood. They just come into our coop to eat.
     
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Rats or mice??

    If you cut back and feed your chickens once a day you are going to start seeing problems in your flock. Chicken eat through the day. They don't eat once or twice and are done. They spend most of their day foraging and pecking and scratching.

    You will develop feathering problems and most likely a cut back in the egg production, picking, pecking problems and if they are hungry enough egg eating problems. Chickens will even pick until another hen is bloody and they will eat her flesh while she is alive.

    You do not want to be the cause of your own problems.

    You would be better off to continue trying to keep the mice at bay than to cut back your chicks feed.

    Have you looked at some of the bucket traps you can make? Little mice are a feast for chickens.
     
  5. NS2A

    NS2A Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 11, 2007
    Minnesota
    Are you hanging your feeders? I hang mine with a chain and they are high enough so the hens can just get in there. Keeps the mice out for me and stops the chickens from spilling the food.

    I don't have rats, so that may not work for you.
     
  6. Chicken Nugget

    Chicken Nugget Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2008
    North Carolina
    These are most certainly rats, not mice. We're talking a foot long (not including the tail).

    So I guess feeding once a day is not a good idea. Can I take the food up when they roost and put it back in the morning? The rats mostly come out at night.

    If it's okay to do that with the food, would it be okay to do it with the water, too? We are having a drought and I have actually seen a rat drinking the hens water.

    I know I would have to be extra, extra careful to put it back first thing, early, in the morning, but do you think that would work?

    The coop is the only thing on our property that attracts them, if I can take care of that then maybe they won't come over here. I tried to talk to my neighbor but she's just denies that they are nesting in her yard and under her old sheds.

    I hate to set out poison, even though I know my other neighbor already has.

    Thanks for your tips.
     
  7. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    You need big gun help. Rats carry disease that can potentially cause trouble in your chickens.

    If you take away the sources of food and water then you do run the risk that the rats might turn to your chickens and eggs as their source of food and drink. Especially if they are rats a foot long.

    Have you contacted your county animal control to see if they can help with bating some traps?

    For a few nights I would take up the food and water.

    I would set up traps in places the chickens couldn't get in to it and bait it with canned cat food just to see what you can catch.

    Have you found how they are getting in to the coop? Are they nesting inside the walls of your coop?

    How many chickens do you have?

    Can you temporarily pen them somewhere else and bait the coop with rat poison?

    I hate rats and mice. But I hate rats more. *shiver*

    I got rid of the rat we saw outside by mixing plaster of paris with powdered sugar and baiting it with canned wet food in the very center.
     
  8. Chicken Nugget

    Chicken Nugget Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2008
    North Carolina
    Have you contacted your county animal control to see if they can help with bating some traps?

    I called the county health department, who said there was nothing they could do. Then I called the city, who said all they could do was send the neighbors a letter telling them to clean up their yard. I guess I could try animal control next.

    Have you found how they are getting in to the coop? Are they nesting inside the walls of your coop?

    They are tunneling underneath and coming up through the dirt floor. Maybe a concrete floor would help? Although that would take some time and money.

    How many chickens do you have?

    14

    I broke down and bought some poison. The rats have to first tunnel under my privacy fence, then tunnel under the coop. So I am going to place the poison near the tunnels at the fence and see if that helps. I may also dig down deep by the fence and fill the ground with concrete there.

    Here's a pic of my coop. You can see the fence in the background.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2008
  9. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Very nice little set-up. Too bad you have problems with the 2 & 4 legged rats on the other side of your fence.

    I think you should try every way you can think of to put some pressure on the neighbors.

    Steve
     
  10. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I am wondering how well you could line the floor of the coop with small welded wire or 1/4 inch hardware cloth to help keep them out. Then bait some feed and traps to kill/catch them.

    Perhaps if you tell animal control youhave witnessed agressive rat behavior toward your chickens they will help you more?
     

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