How much is enough?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ellie32526, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. ellie32526

    ellie32526 Songster

    Oct 21, 2012
    North Texas
    Hi, I'm new, haven't gotten my chickens yet. Planning for Spring. I am so excited! I plan to only leave food out during the day, but have water both inside and out. I'm not sure how much to feed. How do I know how much a chicken eats? I plan to have six hens but I may get more to start with. I am planning on having standard size chickens not bantams. The ones I picked are Australorps, Wyandottes, RIRs, Orphingtons, Speckled Sussex, and Delaware.Do these different kinds of chicken eat more/less or all about the same?

  2. Several factors determine how much they will eat. Important things to keep in mind are:

    • Size of bird
    • Age of bird
    • If they're laying or not
    • What you're feeding
    • If they're have forage or not

    So, an old bantam hen that's not laying, free ranging, and eating Layer will eat less than a Jersey Giant that is producing a lot of eggs, not foraging, and being fed Scratch. And some hens will just eat more than others.

    .25 pounds per production type hen per day (with a 15-16% protein Layer food) is considered average, so, I would give them like one serving more than that to start with. So for six hens, 1.75 pounds. If they leave some, then about 1.50 is provably good. If they eat it all, you could even add some more if you wanted. Chickens will leave food if they're not hungry, so don't worry about them overeating.

    This isn't an exact science, since there's so many factors involved. Just go with your gut.

    Oh, and if you have chicks, it's best to make sure their feeder is always full, because they're bound to loose about half of it.

    Hope this helps!

    ~~Ms.B :)
  3. ellie32526

    ellie32526 Songster

    Oct 21, 2012
    North Texas
    Thank you that does help. I don't want to feed too much and attract rats, but I don't want the ladies to be hungry either. I read another article about hanging a cabbage in the house in the winter, don't imagine that will attract rats will it? Any other ideas to thwart rat attraction?
  4. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Songster

    Sep 10, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    My advice - if you haven't already set up your coop and run is to make it as rat-proof as possible right from the get-go. We needed to do this (here in Australia) because there is a native rat and some small marsupials which are endangered, it's against the law to kill them, and we would also be upset if we got a rat problem and our "solution" inadvertantly killed one of these animals.

    We used heavy gauge, very fine mesh (you might call it hardware cloth?) over all the coop and run, including underneath the ground, to prevent digging predators getting in. What isn't solid wall or roof is protected by the best vermin-proof wire mesh we could buy. Expensive, but now it should last for years. I know the girls' food can be topped up and left for them to eat as much as they want. When they free - range (2-3 hours per day) I lock the door to the run open so they can still return. When I put them back I make sure nothing has come in (not likely, as most of the risk animals are nocturnal).

    If the cost/effort/your set-up allows, it is much better to prevent the problem from the outset. Good luck with your girls - I also waited several months whilst we built, then waiting for our spring to arrive, so I know how exciting and frustrating the wait is!
  5. chfite

    chfite Songster

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    I keep the water outside and the food inside. I make sure that they always have food. It seems unlikely that they would over-eat.


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