How much to feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by BWSY, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. BWSY

    BWSY Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2010
    I was watching some chicken videos online about their daily routine of feeding chickens. They were going out every day to throw some feed out. Since I know some people who have a feeder full of food for the hens to eat as they please and others who go out and toss food out everyday I was wondering which is best? I know fat chickens are not healthy.

    What does everyone else do?
     
  2. nivtup

    nivtup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Shelton Washington
    Ours all get free choice feed.
     
  3. BWSY

    BWSY Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2010
    I was doing some internet searching during my wait for replies....Thanks!

    "Feeding Programs

    The accepted feeding rules indicate that full feeding (offering a constant supply of feed) is the best method for attaining maximum production. When hens are restricted from consuming all the feed they desire, they usually cease laying eggs. An average laying hen will consume about 1/4 to 1/3 pound of feed per day depending on weather conditions, size of the bird, and level of productivity.

    Offer only a high-quality layer ration without any extra additions of grain or other feedstuff. The layer diet has all nutrients in the proper proportions to maintain maximum productivity in the birds, when allowed to eat all they desire. Be sure to offer only fresh, clean feed in the feed troughs."

    per Mississippi State University.
     
  4. franklinchickens

    franklinchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    We keep feed out all the time, plus ours free range in the backyard all day. And I toss out fruits, veggies & bread that are just past their prime daily as well as some scratch. None of my hens are fat - all are very healthy and lay well. I think as long as they are kept busy and are active, having access to all the food they can eat is a good thing, especially when it is cold.
     
  5. BWSY

    BWSY Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2010
    Thanks for the replies. I have been providing a layer feed supplemented with healthy stuff from leftovers and stuff I buy extra for them...such as kale, collards, cabbage and broccoli for example. (If not in season in my own garden) I increased the protein during the past two months during their molt. They get to free range when ever possible.

    I was just wondering if free feeding was the norm!

    Thanks again.
     
  6. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I happen to agree with this recommendation. I have gamefowl and as such, they must either be penned alone or with one rooster and one hen. In the past I have raised Spanish games. The roosters were about 4-4 1/2 lbs and the hens usually about 3 lbs. I fed 3 oz for each bird and they were healthy and lusterous with no body fat. The hens layed well for gamefowl. I now have only oriental game fowl and, because they are larger, cocks at around 8 lbs and hens around 6, I feed them 4 1/2 oz per day. One feeding in the morning. Again, they are healthy with large breasts, lusterous plumage and bright red faces. I fed 14% Purina Gamebird Blend while in FL, but have recently moved to GA where Southern States 13 way is as close as I can get to PGBBlend at 16%. They get the amounts posted, but on extremely cold nights, I will give them a few kernals of whole corn for an evening snack to work their gizzards and help them stay warm as they are in open pens.

    If you have large hens, 4 1/2 to 5 oz per day is plenty, if you feed a quality layer ration and very few treats. Good luck...........Pop

    Edit to add: I throw feed on the ground for my fowl, as it keeps them busy and works their legs. Feeders are the way to go for layer mash or crumbles.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011
  7. BWSY

    BWSY Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2010
    My two hens are BR. Their behavior is chipper and the plumage is healthy. I think my current feeding practice is good. Thanks for the response. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't over feeding them.

    I do provide grit/oyster shell during the months when I can't let them out as much as in the spring and summer months
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011
  8. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:If you would like to check for fat on your birds, turn them upside down and look at their bellies ahead of their vent. In good light, you can see through the skin and see yellow fat under the skin, if it is present. A little fat is good, you be the judge........Pop
     
  9. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Is there ever a time when you should not provide feed free choice to chickens?
     
  10. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chicken.Lytle :

    Is there ever a time when you should not provide feed free choice to chickens?

    Just my opinion, but I would say yes. If your flock is fat, their feed should either be limited, or the type of feed should be changed. Many folks feed as cheaply as possible, and with good reason. I think you should always feed the best feed you can afford, even if it means cutting back on the size of your flock..........Pop​
     

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