How much feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by tenecwalker, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. tenecwalker

    tenecwalker Hatching

    Aug 1, 2009
    Our flock just more than doubled since I picked up 23 hens & 1 rooster for free yesterday. How much food would you expect to go through for 35 chickens (2 roos, the rest laying hens)? They are cooped up until mid morning and then are allowed to free range. They tend to just hide around in the bushes and stuff though. Any idea how to get them to go out and forage more? Thanks!

  2. nivtup

    nivtup Songster

    Apr 24, 2008
    Shelton Washington
    Depending on if they get lots to supplement thier diet free ranging, I would think you are going to be somewhere around 9 or 10 pounds a day, less if they have access to lots of bugs, grasses, etc.

    Give them time and they will be running everywhere, there always seem to be a bit wary of new things, kind of like they are chicken.

  3. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Songster

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    Quote:I've had my pullets since they were a few days old, so they look to me as food-bringer. When I think they are spending too much time right beside their run rather than foraging in interesting places, I go out with a handful of oatmeal or slice of bread. They usually run to me and I can lead them over to a different area. If they don't run right over, I can lure them with the proverbial trail of breadcrumbs. That method might take a little longer with a new flock that you didn't raise yourself, but as food focused as chickens are, I bet they'd learn quickly.
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Feed heavy late in the afternoon. That is what free ranging flock keepers normally say. If you fill them up in the am, they aren' too motivated to go searching for food.

    As the quality of range deteriorates as we head toward early winter, fewer and fewer calories can come from ranging here. Bugs are dying off, frosty nights, browning of grasses, etc, all means there is simply less of anything for our birds to find. Feed increases. As winter sets in, our birds intake of feed normally rises by 20% as they are using those calories, a unit of heat, to keep themselves warm.

    A bird on top quality range can eat as little as 2 ounces of feed. A bird cooped up or on sterile range may eat as much as 6 ounces per day. Your 24 birds will thus eat as little as 3 pounds per day to as much as 9 pounds per day. Let the birds tell you. If there is feed left over when they've gone to roost, you've overshot their needs by that amount. If they tray is dead empty by 4 pm, you've under-estimated their need.
  5. tenecwalker

    tenecwalker Hatching

    Aug 1, 2009
    Thanks everyone! Very helpful. They definitely already see us as the givers of food and coming running as soon as we go outside. We are in Ohio, so the free ranging won't be that great around here until next spring. We have been feeding them later afternoon.

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