How much food should a chicken eat?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by McGoo, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    I am new at this.... I have 3 hens and a rooster that are about 5 months old. I feed them organic mash and then veggie scraps. They have full run of about 1/3 of an acre of grass and woods so there are good bugs and seeds.

    I have been checking their intake of mash and it's only about 1 cup a day. That's for all 4. Is that 'normal'? I'm told that they have to work more at eating the mash, but that it's 'better for them' - more natural. Is this true.

    Thanks all,
    Colleen [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Well, if they are ranging, they might not eat much food you give them because they are filling up on other stuff. I would give oyster shell on the side since they are eating less of the feed with calcium. As for mash being more "natural"... uh... I give pellets since it is less waste and the birds can eat it better/more efficiently. Mash is basically the pellets that they processed again though roller to mush them all up since I believe the native form of feed is pellets. If they can swallow whole mice and slurp down large worms with no problems, crumble might be too much work for them to eat much of.
  3. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Songster

    Feb 7, 2007
    Northern California
    My wife can tell by looking at the chickens crop if they have had plenty to eat.
  4. Lunachick

    Lunachick Chicken Slave

    Mar 19, 2007
    Brick, NJ
    I leave their mash out for them all day. They have free range at least on average 3 to 4 hours a day (when I'm home to supervise) they can come and go into their run and coop, til lock up time. But besides what they eat foraging, they can always come home to the coop and eat their regular feed.

    Plus treats in the afternoon, how good is that?
  5. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Thanks all. I'll get the oyster shells and the pellets next time I go to the feed store. I am hoping that they'll start laying eggs soon and the calcium will be important for that as well.

    And I should have added that the feed is available to them all day. I place two separate feeders in two separate areas w/ water so that even if they're staying under cover from hawks, they can still access.

    I really love these little gals... and Mr. Ed.
  6. ginasmarans

    ginasmarans Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    West Tn
    An average adult chicken needs about 4 oz of feed/day. They may eat more or less, depending on what else is available
  7. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I have free choice feed out. When they have lots of foraging time, kitchen scraps, etc. they barely ever eat the commercial feed. I am one of those people that believe the feed is good to maintain them and to supplement their diet but it is the bugs and grass and other things that is really the most 'natural' and healthy diet.
  8. SandraChick

    SandraChick Songster

    I was gonna say the same thing as ms. Prissy!!!!

  9. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    I have a 7lb feeder that we fill once a week for my 8 girls. They free-range from about 11am until dark everyday, rain or shine (rain is a rare thing in NC these days)

    On those occassions when we are not home for a day or 2 and they don't free-range, they will eat nearly 3/4 of it in that time. Good thing I have lots of bugs and weed seeds!!

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