How much feed will I need?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by anniebethj, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. anniebethj

    anniebethj In the Brooder

    Nov 21, 2008
    Plain City, UT
    I am going to order 25 chicks....12 layers and 13 meat. Do they eat the same food? How much food do they eat, and how expensive is it? Also, do you need to buy one of the "chick feeders" to put it in, or is there a plan floating around to make one myself?
  2. zatsdeb

    zatsdeb Songster

    Oct 2, 2007
    Lincoln, Illinois
    you can start them all on chick starter, but your meat birds really need meat bird feed, I mixed mine with the chick starter, and then switched to all meat bird feed after a week or so...
    they grow so fast they need that meat bird feed so they will have strong bones, they will break a bone in a leg really easy.
    good luck!
    don't forget the pictures!!!

    oh,yes you need a feeder also, they will poop in their food and water dishes.
    also marbles in the waterers the first week, some people put sugar in the water the first day or so.
    keep them up off the floor of the brooder with bricks.
    and pine shavings, don't forget pine shavings!!!!! and a light to keep them warm!!!
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2008
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I haven't raised meat birds in a few years. My simple advice - go with the meat hybrids. Switching over to dual-purpose breeds just made for some really expensive meat from my backyard. Of course, you can buy more than what you need of what you want and then keep only the ones that make promises of multitudes of eggs [​IMG].

    Surplus dual-purpose birds for the freezer cost me $6 in feed. That was kind of a preplanned, cut-off point . . . .

    My earliest layer at 21 weeks (Barred Rock pullet) cost me just about that much. (She was trying to show how valuable she was [​IMG].)

    My latest layer (Australorp) cost me $10 in feed . . . !! She's given me 2 eggs (both layed on the floor [​IMG]) finally at 26 weeks!

    You should know that by looking at the prices listed on here, I've discovered that feed prices are fairly high here. This, despite it being one of the major grain producing areas in the US [​IMG]!

    edited to say: the birds have been getting about 10+% of their feed from the kitchen or garden (or lawn). I am increasing that.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2008
  4. freemotion

    freemotion Songster

    Nov 10, 2008
    Western MA
    Figure on about 4 oz per bird per day for the layers, once they grow up. I never had meat birds, so I don't know.

    I have dual purpose chickens now, but just hens. How much feed ultimately costs you depends on how you choose to feed, how much free-ranging your situation safely allows, and how creative you are in finding free, healthy foods for your flock. I do all three, but don't mess with the babies, they are too fragile. At 10 weeks, I start introducing the whole grains my adult birds get, and have them switched over by about 14 weeks. You need to know how to balance protein and nutrients to take this type of feeding project on, so it is definitely not for everyone.

    My goal is to ultimately purchase only half my feed. With extensive free-ranging, this was the case for me all spring, summer, and fall, with no decline in production. Lots of big grasshoppers and beetles in my field, least there were a lot....

    A lot of feed is wasted to rodents, too. I have had as many as three chipmunks run BETWEEN MY FEET while I was throwing grain to my girls, and many more scurry in and fill their little cheeks. So I hand-feed my girls, throwing feed 2-3 times a day. I hang a feeder if I will be working late or if I go out of town and a friend just has to change the water and pick up the eggs. My feed bill went down noticeably when I started this. It is more work, of course, but here we call it "chicken therapy!" My DH and I try to beat each other to the feeding chores, we both enjoy it so much.

    Have fun with your chickies, and do lots of searches to figure out how you want to proceed! [​IMG]

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