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How much should they be eating?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by skeeter4488, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. skeeter4488

    skeeter4488 In the Brooder

    Jan 22, 2013
    My Coop
    I have 8 hens and 1 rooster. You can see the breeds by clicking the link in my sig panel. I raised 7 of them from baby chicks and I would need to fill up their little 1 gallon feed container about once every 3 days. Last Friday, I added 2 golden comets to my flock that are about 6 weeks older than my other 7. They started laying about 2 weeks ago. My original hens have not layed yet. Anyway, since I got the 2 new hens, I have to fill the container about once a day now!!! Is this because they are laying eggs and need more food? I also noticed that they peck at the food like pigs, whereas my other hens are more... "ladylike" lol. I'm just curious as to how much everyone else feeds their chickens.

    Also, should I always make sure there is food available or should I just put a certain amount in each day and moderate their food consumption?

    Any thought would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Probably 100 lb a month for all of them, including the new ones. They eat more when they lay too.

    I'd let them eat what they want unless they are meaties.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  3. countrygirl74

    countrygirl74 Songster

    Oct 19, 2012
    Northern Arizona
    I think I am going through about 100lbs a month as well - that's for 8 hens, 1 roo, 3 silkies, and 4 ducks. I feed them organic mash feed, fermented, 2x's a day. The more I can supplement with leftovers, greens, etc., of course, will bring the feed down some. I expect them to eat a lot more feed in the winter when there's not much else to eat.
  4. chfite

    chfite Songster

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    I have a rooster and nine hens that eat around 100 pounds per month in addition to foraging.

  5. BattelSyrup

    BattelSyrup In the Brooder

    Jan 29, 2013
    I just read today in an Extension publication that 1/4 pound of feed per day is a general guideline for laying hens.
  6. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    Apr 8, 2008
    Yes, large fowl layer hens will eat about 1/4 pound per hen per day. That will vary based on time of year if you allow your hens out to range. What they eat outside makes a huge difference--in the winter, mine go through 200 pounds in just under two weeks. In the summer, that same 200 pounds will last close to twice as long.

    Let your hens have free-choice feed. Unlike some other animals (or me [​IMG]), chickens do a very good job regulating their food intake. It's very rare to see a fat chicken. They'll do a LOT better if they don't get into a cycle where they're hungry while they wait for you to bring food.

    Many people do feed restriction for meat birds, because they ARE prone to over-eating. But layer hens do best with free-choice feed. If you feel like your hens are going through too much feed, think about what else might be eating it. Wild birds, rats, and mice are common culprits when the feed bin is emptying too fast.
  7. nok13

    nok13 Songster

    Dec 8, 2012
    can someone do the math for me and convert to kilograms/per hen: i have 4 leghorn one red hen and one bantam pullet...

    how much should they get? layer feed- 16% protein.

    i just put my shnitzels in with them for a whiel so am mixing chick feed (19%) in a different bowl so the shnitzels can eat mostly ontheir own... i want to mvoe them to the big coop already; (shnitzels are meat chickens, they are plump, but unfortunately are also freindly so will not be able to turn them to shnitzels when the time comes... they run to me when they see me...)

  8. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    Apr 8, 2008
    .25 lbs is .113 kg, according to King Google.
  9. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Crowing

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    I always read that the 1/4 lb is for leghorns & sex linked chickens. It is closer to 1/3 of a lb for dual purpose chickens. 1/4 lb. for a large chicken like a Barred rock is very little especially in winter. It depends on what else you are feeding them, but chickens do eat food and more than we might think.
    1 person likes this.
  10. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    Apr 8, 2008
    1/4 pound per bird is an average, of course, and doesn't take into consideration losses to wild birds and rodents. Individual birds have individual needs, which is why it's best to feed layer hens free-choice. The 1/4 pound per bird figure is a good way to see if they are eating an appropriate amount--if they're eating LOTS more than this, you have something else gobbling your chicken feed. If they are eating lots less, then they are not able to eat the feed for some reason (new feeder, etc).

    I have 50-ish chickens, and go through a bag of food every 3.33 days. That works out to exactly 1/3 pound of feed per bird per day, even though most of mine are sex-links and Leghorns. We do lose feed to starlings. In the summer, it will be half that since they are out on pasture.

    Basically, people should keep a feeder full, and only worry about the calculations if they are suddenly going through lots more or less feed than they think they should. I end up doing the calcs every fall when the weather turns bad and all of a sudden my feeder empties twice as fast as it has all summer and I panic. [​IMG]

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