How much to feed? I'm reading and reading, but...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by LaurieAC, Aug 26, 2007.

  1. LaurieAC

    LaurieAC Hatching

    May 8, 2007
    I am still confused. [​IMG]

    My hens seem to be hungry all the time, always eating. There are 16 of them, not quite ready to lay. All big and fat, filled with energy. I've had them all since they were days old. They are mostly RRs, with some Australorps and a couple of leghorns. They can free range on a little more than an acre of thick grasses and lots of weeds. [​IMG] There are many bugs, too.

    I have been feeding them Blue Seal organic crumble in the evening, and some in the morning to get them out of their pen. I put apple cider vinegar in their water, and they get scraps of food, and cracked corn. There is plenty of grit outside, and they have a wonderful shaded dirt area under some trees where they did up all sorts of things. I have water containers around the property for them.

    When they see me, they swarm, they always hope I have the crumble. They would prefer the rumble, I htink. If I don't keep the hen house closed when they are free ranging, then run in there and stay until they get fed. They seem ravenous when I feed them, and they will eat and eat however much crumble IO put in. There is never anything left. My silkies, otoh, eat very daintily and they never seem to get to the bottom of their layer food.

    How much crumble? And how often? They seem to really want it, and maybe I am not giving them enough, although they all look well and healthy. I try to keep them out from morning (around 9) until at least 4, often later, depending. We have dogs who watch the yeard for predators.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2007
  2. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    Hi Laurie, first let me tell you- this is how I do it and it works well for me. My chickens have a large feeder in their coop that ALWAYS has food in it for them, 24/7. They get treats every day, they already had watermelon today. I, personally, do not feed corn in the summer...learned that here...makes them too hot. My chickens free range but go into their coop about 4 times a day to eat their feed then return outside to nap and forage. Fresh water everywhere and inside the coop.
    When I walk out the door they run/fly to me to see if I have something good for them?? They are really pigs disguised as chickens. [​IMG] They have oyster shell available 24/7, too. All are fat and fine. I do not worry as I know they are getting enough to eat. does that help you at all? Oh, they will get treats anytime I have them such as yogurt, left over veggies, egg shells, fruit, anytime of the time of the day and there is no rule as to how many times they should get treats.
  3. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    I usually keep food in the feeder at all times. They just eat what they need. Maybe they are getting hungry in between feedings which is causing them to pig out when you do feed them. How much are you giving them? Eating just layer feed adult hens need about a 1/4 lb a day, so your sixteen should be eating around 4 lbs a day give or take a little...
  4. Zenbirder

    Zenbirder Songster

    May 3, 2007
    New Mexico
    I free range and keep food available at all times. They especially like to eat before and after they lay an egg. I would say they are all muscular rather than fat, I estimate they walk at least a couple of miles a day in their foraging over several acres.
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I keep 30 lb hanging feeders about 1/4 full all the time. They eat whenever they need to and mine do freerange part of every day, usually all day.
  6. RebelsHope

    RebelsHope Songster

    Jul 27, 2007
    Pound for pound my chicks eat more than my 1500lb half draft horse. I am not kidding! Those things eat and eat. I finally got them fixed up in a coop outside. Left and they literally flew the coop because they ran out of food. And I was only gone a few hours! I try to leave them with food all the time.
  7. ginasmarans

    ginasmarans Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    West Tn
    I have been told that a standard,adult chicken needs 4 oz of feed/day. I don't necessarily measure it, but I have around 40 adult chickens and run through 50 lbs in about 3 days. I think mine are eating a little less these days because of the heat and all the fresh veggies they've been getting. I feed mine 1/day. I just keep an eye on my feeder. If it is clean and the chickens alamost mob me when I come near them with a bucket, I feed more. If there is a signaficant amount of feed left over from las feeding, I feed less. It might take a few feedings,but you'll figure it out.
  8. NewGuineaChooks

    NewGuineaChooks Songster

    Aug 24, 2007
    San Antonio, Texas
    This might sound horrible.

    In a remote, developing country where we worked for a while, there is no such thing as chicken feed. And, maintaining positive interaction with our impoverished neighbors meant we had to be cautious what we fed our chickens that might look good enough for people to eat.

    This meant, all our half-dozen ever got was a few scrapings from the ends of our meals. I'm sure they would have layed better with more food, but it DID work. They free ranged for bugs and were happy hens, until they neighbors stole and ate them....

    So i think just because they're looking for food doesn't mean they have to have more.
  9. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    Quote:You are so RIGHT you know our pioneers and our grandparents who lived during the depression did NOT feed commercial feed. chickens ate off the land mostly.
  10. Quote:I'm confused as well. Why don't you feed them free choice 24/7?

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