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How much should chickens eat in a 24 hour period?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chicnchic, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. chicnchic

    chicnchic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 1, 2010
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    My hubby and I are in conflict about how much the chickens are eating. We live in NH, and it's be COOOOOLLLLLDDDD here (-30 on Monday, but 25 today!) I have a feeder hanging in the pen so that the feed is at chest level, and a heat lamp to keep them from being too cold (I think my Roo has frostbite ANYWAY! :^( so it has be COLD!) I have 13 birds...how much layer mash should they eat in 24 hours?
    I appreciate the help guys! [​IMG]
     
  2. lorihadams

    lorihadams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feed mine pellets....less waste. My 9 hens and 3 ducks get 3-4 cups of layer pellets per day. If it gets too cold they get about a cup or two of cracked corn in the evenings. I make mine free range and we are just fine. We have had a cold winter here but not much lingering snow like a lot of the country so we have been lucky that ours have been able to free range quite a bit. They get all the food scraps from the house to suppliment the feed as well.
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I'm afraid the short answer is, as much as they want.

    Mine are really going through the feed lately. There is so little forage available now and the foxes and such should be hungry, so I've confined them to their large yard. In warmer months I do free range, and they eat a whole lot less then. And even down here they need more to withstand cold.

    They really should be fed free choice, layer or grower or flock raiser, and oyster shell on the side, esp. if it's not layer. If you try to limit their feed they will be scrawny, prone to disease and parasites, lay less, etc. It does help if you have a fair amount of leftovers and veggie scraps to offer them, or can scrounge wilted greens from the grocery and the like. You can feed some scratch or cracked corn, it is a little cheaper, but all such extras should not exceed 10% of their diet of regular feed.

    If they can forage in the summer you will be a lot happier with your feed bill, I promise.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2011
  4. chicnchic

    chicnchic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:THANK you ddawn!! You conveyed my sentiments EXACTLY!! I feel that they look good, are acting happy and healthy and are still laying well....I'm getting 8 or 9 eggs a day from 12 hens, not bad for our dark winters!! [​IMG] I told him he's being a Scrooge, [​IMG] and to leave the feed alone [​IMG] [​IMG] They're eating about twice as much as they did in the Fall so I think they're doing ok! I have one of the 10 lb feeders and if I let it go 24 hours they all but empty it. I don't think that's an extravagant amount of food for 13 large birds! Especially since they can't get out much except for directly under the hen house (the netting I had over their yard collapsed with the weight of the snow, so I'll go to Plan B next season (we have hawks on the prowl in the warm weather, and now we have owls - Great Horned and Snowy!) so, for now, they don't have their 'playground' to enjoy, but they love to go out and grab some snow and scratch around. [​IMG] )

    I give them about a cup or cup and a half of corn when I let them out in the am, and keep oyster shell and grit available for them as well. They have 5 gallons of water (drip-on-demand/nipple system with a tank de-icer in it) so for being "cooped up", they have all their needs met and seem pretty content which shows in the amount of eggs we are still collecting! [​IMG]

    Again, THANK you!! I won! [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. chicnchic

    chicnchic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 1, 2010
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    Quote:Lori, I feed pellets to the ducks too, but hang my feeders for the hens, so there is little to no waste even from Mash [​IMG] What little they do drop gets "scratched" up by the end of the day. We have about a foot/foot and a half, of snow on the ground so there's not much free-rangin happen here! [​IMG] Thanks for the info though! [​IMG]
     

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