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How much food do my hens need?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Joan-NZ, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. Joan-NZ

    Joan-NZ In the Brooder

    Nov 10, 2013
    New Zealand
    Hi all

    I have looked through the headings of forum topics and can't see this topic - for all I am sure it's there ..

    So apologies in advance for the double up but I am keen to ensure I give my girls (and boys, it turns out!) enough food.

    They're approx. 3 months old now (this pic is a few weeks old, they're a little bigger now) ..

    Currently (and since getting them) I feed them three times a day.

    Scraps is one of these meals - the other meals are wheat (that I soak til it's sprouted so I have a complicated pan / strainer system in my laundry and fridge lol) and mash / meal whatever you call it is their other meal. To this I add molasses and warm water so it's a nice crumbly consistency ..

    As well, they get a catcher full of lawn clippings every day. I am sure my neighbours think I am mad mowing my lawn a strip a day but the chooks LOVE it and scratch around eating it happily for hours .. next day I rake it out and throw it in the paddock for the wild birds to take away .. seems a great use of lawn clippings to me!

    Anyway I just want to know if I am giving them sufficient food as they're always very happy to see me (and there's never any food leftover) ..

    So - can anyone tell me what the ideal qty of feed for growing birds is and then how much do I give them once they're fully grown?

    Appreciate your insights.

    Oh and as to breed? o idea .. They appear to be a blend of bantam shaver silkies!?

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014

  2. i usually 2 small coffee cans a day for 8-12 hens
  3. Joan-NZ

    Joan-NZ In the Brooder

    Nov 10, 2013
    New Zealand
    Could you define small please? We don't have cans of coffee here so I am unsure what that might mean - thanks
  4. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    What's their protein source? The diet would appear to be deficient in calories and balanced nutrition for pullets.

    There should always be some food leftover. That tells me they aren't getting enough.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  5. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    :Large fowl need between 1/4 to 1/3 pounds of feed a day, depending on the breed. Sorry I don't have a conversion chart handy. With bantams, who are smaller, they will need less. Since you are giving them various other food then just feed it may be tough to say how much they will need. My advice would be to put a container of dry feed out and let them fill up on that during the day as they need.
  6. it is about the size of a mason jar
  7. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Songster

    Sep 12, 2011
    Central Michigan
    I buy poultry feed from a local mill or a local pet food store, fill up a larger poultry feeder, and allow the chickens free access to it all day long. This is called feeding "free choice".

    You don't need to think about "meals" the way people eat three meals a day. Chickens are foragers which means they want to meander and scratch and eat all day long...inbetween naps and dust bathing and laying eggs, of course. [​IMG]

    One way to check and see if they're getting enough feed is to feel their crops when they get on their roosts at night. Look up chicken anatomy so you know where to look, but essentially if they look "busty" (as in, full-breasted) at night then they've sufficiently filled their crops.

    Seriously, so long as you're purchasing a well-balanced feed from a reputable source and providing it free choice you don't have to worry about what kind or how much.

    I'm sure they do love to scratch and peck the lawn clippings you provide--this is their natural instinct and it's valuable for them to be able to do these behaviors. Plus, chickens do like to eat lots of greens and the little bugs on the greens. But I don't think you need to rake out the old stuff...I use grass clippings and leaves as my sole coop bedding (deep litter method).
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014

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