How Much Should I Feed My Chickens?

May 22, 2020
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I have 6 Buff Orpingtons, all are almost a year old. I have been concerned about their weight because my rooster seems to be gaining a lot of weight. I refill their food whenever it is empty, should I only feed them a certain amount of food a day? They still lay eggs, and they do not have any change in behavior. My rooster recently had some behavioral problems, but we fixed that so he doesn't attack me anymore. We use this food, is it healthy for them? https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/tractor-supply-dumor-16-layer-pellet-50-lb-3006319-206 They have grit in their food, and I often give them table scraps mostly including broccoli and cucumber peels. I know which foods they cannot eat, and I am careful about choking hazards in the run. Any suggestions of what I should do?
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rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
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I free feed my birds and let them decide how much they need to eat. Most types of chickens can self regulate without issue.

Issue with using layer is you have a rooster, and he'll never lay and cannot use up the extra calcium in the feed. Potentially down the line that excess calcium could cause kidney failure.
 

kcan2

Crowing
Oct 18, 2019
696
2,797
316
MI
Cute pics!

I fed layer feed (like you) until I discovered that it is potentially harmful to roosters down the road later in their life. Since my rooster is my favorite, I quickly switched to Flock Raiser (purina) Crumbles. The chickens have free access to it all day. Once it is gone, I'm going to try a bag of Kalmbach Flock Maker, also safe for both roosters and hens.

The biggest newbie mistake I made at first was feeding too much "junk food," which was the scratch grains or corn. I believe someone told me treats, including mealworms, corn, scratch, etc should only be 10% or less of their diet.

The chickens' main goal is to fill their crop before roosting at night, where they then go up to the roost and digest and empty their crop as they sleep. So as long as you are offering a good quality feed, and not too many treats, they can figure out the rest! :)
 

GC-Raptor

Free Ranging
5 Years
Jul 26, 2016
5,683
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Connecticut, USA
I never let the feeder get empty and keep it in the coops 24/7.
The raised coops are rodent proof when I close the pop door just after sunset.
I also keep water in the well ventilated coops.
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Chickens can vary in size. I had 7 Barred Rocks all bought as day old chicks and they varied in size and weight by a couple of pounds when grown.
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I have 3 left at 28 months old.
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The one on the right is starting to molt. The one on the left is finishing her molt. They are a couple of pounds different in weight year round. Both are good layers except molting season. None have laid since December 1st. GC
 

GC-Raptor

Free Ranging
5 Years
Jul 26, 2016
5,683
11,691
671
Connecticut, USA
Ok, which store do you buy your food at? Tractor Supply?
Yes.
I like a Non-Medicated Starter-Grower feed 18% Protein.
I like Nutrena and Purina.
If the Starter Grower isn't available I will buy Flock Raiser Crumbles 20%.
I feed these feeds to all ages with Oyster Shells separately for the Layers. GC
 

Allthefloofs

Songster
Sep 16, 2020
607
1,465
216
Scottsdale, AZ
Our vet recommended 100-120g per day. We had two BO girls die from fatty liver syndrome from over eating. Everyone does things differently so I am not necessarily saying you need to weigh things out but after losing our girls I do, but to be honest, they rarely finish the full quantity. It does help me know what they are consuming though so I know if they aren’t eating much and I can be more watchful of them during molt, etc.
 

Allthefloofs

Songster
Sep 16, 2020
607
1,465
216
Scottsdale, AZ
Our vet recommended 100-120g per day. We had two BO girls die from fatty liver syndrome from over eating. Everyone does things differently so I am not necessarily saying you need to weigh things out but after losing our girls I do, but to be honest, they rarely finish the full quantity. It does help me know what they are consuming though so I know if they aren’t eating much and I can be more watchful of them during molt, etc.
I just realized I wasn’t super clear, 100-120 grams per chicken per day. She added that she would go with 100g for light bodied birds and 110-120 for heavier breeds.
 

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