How much food do 5 hens need?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by debbiecarol, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. debbiecarol

    debbiecarol New Egg

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    Apr 19, 2012
    very SW Washington coast
    We have a 10 or 12' pen for 5 chickens and feed them about 4 cups of scratch a day. Is this enough food for the size of the yard they have? I give them vegetables and peels etc. and some table scraps. I live in the pacific northwest and understand they are probably molting right now, thus no eggs, but am concerned whether I am giving them enough scratch because of the small yard.
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Scratch just isn't a complete feed ration. Consider feeding a Layer feed or a high quality Grower feed, while providing a calcium source on the side. Since you used the word "hens", we're talking layers here, right?

    Scratch has insufficient protein, calcium, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and so forth. It is just normally a few grains swept together. It should be used sparingly as something to toss to break boredom, perhaps.

    Your hens should eat 5-6 ounces per day, each. That is roughly 6-8 cups of feed per day, of high quality feed. Less in the summer when the bugs are out and the grasses are lush.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  3. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are they only getting scratch and not feed?

    Scratch is a snack it is not a meal. They need to eat a chicken feed with grains AND protein. It is very important that they get enough protein. They will not be able to lay eggs without it.

    If you have all laying birds who are already laying eggs then you need a layer need that has calcium in it. If you have any young hens or roosters you should buy a grower or flock raiser feed and have a bowl of oyster shells on the side for calcium.

    It is recommended to keep feed always available for the chickens to graze on. They will not over eat.
     
  4. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We generally don't even bother with scratch...imo it's an unnecessary added expense and not worth it. We do get spent grains from neighbors who brew and then dry it. They get this sort of like scratch and really enjoy it. We have 6 hens and simply keep the feeders full of their pellets. A 50# bag lasts us about 2 months or so. We also give them a lot of greens, yogurt, cheese, veggies and kitchen scraps. You also need to supply them with grit and calcium supplement...just have it available and they will take what they need.
     
  5. debbiecarol

    debbiecarol New Egg

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    Apr 19, 2012
    very SW Washington coast
    yes, it is feed, but I have not given them an unlimited supply. We started with cornish x as well, and you CAN overfeed them, so wasn't too sure about feed for the rest of the girls.
    I would really like a larger yard for them, but at this time that is not an option, will increase their feed.
    Thank you.
     
  6. jedgeworth

    jedgeworth Out Of The Brooder

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    I dont like scratch either i do nothing for the hens. It is just like candy to them. I feed 22% layer feed in a feeder and toss in about 1 cup of BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) into the run once maybe twice a day.
     
  7. debbiecarol

    debbiecarol New Egg

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    Apr 19, 2012
    very SW Washington coast
    Thank you! I used scratch as a generic term (I'm new to this), I am using feed, but will get calcuim supplement and grit.
     
  8. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hehe, welcome Debbie! It takes a while to get the lingo down. When I first started and they were talking mash and scratch...I was totally confused! It's actually good for them to have something to scratch for..it keeps them busy and it's what chickens were meant to do. You can accomplish this by tossing in anything small...the spent grains or cracked corn, sunflower seeds, loose grain of any sort, really...it lets them "hunt" LOL
     
  9. debbiecarol

    debbiecarol New Egg

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    Apr 19, 2012
    very SW Washington coast
    We live on the Pacific coast, could I use crushed oyster shell for calcium? Is there something to use other than bying grit? What IS grit?
     
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    You can supply the oyster shells for added calcium, free choice. They'll normally peck at it when they feel the need.

    Grit is gravel, sand, crushed rock, anything a chicken can peck and pick to help them crush their food in the gizzard. If they find enough on their own, fine, but if you're concerned, you can buy a bag of crushed granite grit at most feed stores. It lasts a long while.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012

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