How much to feed

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by urabus, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. urabus

    urabus In the Brooder

    Mar 16, 2012
    I've been leaving the feeder out for the chickens to eat at will (5 chickens). I'm afraid they may be getting fat. I tried feeding twice a day, but that still averaged out to the same amount I was putting in the feeder. Does someone have a formula for how much feed a chicken should get each day? The chickens are about 27 weeks old. Thanks.

  2. captainmommy3

    captainmommy3 In the Brooder

    Feb 26, 2012
    Chickens DO NOT over eat. Winter is coming they may be getting ready but you should leave water, food, grit and oyster shell out for free eating at all times they need the nutrients especially if they are laying or are getting ready to lay....don't limit their food it could cause health issues.
  3. phalenbeck

    phalenbeck Songster

    Aug 14, 2008
    Canton, N.C.
    I have left layer pellets out all the time for layers, as I think most do. They will self-regulate. In my case the ones that seem fat is mostly due to feathers, and the skinney ones are more active. I also demand feed dogs/cats when I have had one and never have had a fat dog or chicken, but have had some plumper and slimmer. Meat chickens need regulation, layers--no.
  4. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Different chickens have different shapes. What breeds do you have? Some have naturally round bodies and some are pretty fluffy. They will not eat too much.
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I think the average layer eats about 1/3 cup of feed a day, to give you a start. They do, however, love to waste food!

    Meaties have been bred to literally eat themselves to death. I've never had a fat hen in keeping birds all my life. I've always free fed.
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    A laying chicken should get just about all the feed they want to eat in a day. You can accomplish this several ways, but that's the bottom line. You can feed heavily in the am and a bit less in the late afternoon. By paying attention to the "left over" amount, you can regulate it slightly until the birds are super well fed, but there is nothing much left over, at night, to feed the rodents. A large fowl layer will consume 6 ounces of feed per day. Then, one starts with all the variables. Range? perhaps a bit less. Winter? perhaps an ounce more for heat generation. There is no one pat answer here.
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I agree with the above poster, I watch the bowl and aim for it nearly empty at dark. Chickens do not get up in the dark and eat. If a lot is left over, I feed less, if it is bone empty, I feed more. The season, the amount of free range, the quality of free range are constantly changing, and will affect the amount of feed consumed.

    While the above amounts should be a good rule of thumb, when cold weather comes on, chickens need more feed, and they need to head to the roost with full crops in the late afternoon. With enough feed, and protection from the wind, chickens will survive quite well in very cold, and 10-30 below zero.
    Food is where their body heat comes from, your comes from there too!


  8. The5Girls

    The5Girls Hatching

    Sep 8, 2012
    Love these posts! I was worrying maybe I was feeding my girls too much, but not now! We may be in sunny California but it's not unusual to get into the low 30's at night around here. My girls just started laying (I think all five are laying now!) & they seem very happy. I'll keep feedin them plenty, since the bowl is always empty late in the afternoon.
  9. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
    I have always left feed out for them all day. I do not portion their food for them. That is too time consuming for me. I only fill the feeders when I have to. I have never had anyone have an overdose on food.

    I have all of my animals together (chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys). They all eat in shifts. The chickens and turkeys eat first thing in the morning when I open the coops. The geese and ducks eat VERY late in the evening. Sometimes as late as 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM. So, I have to make feed available 24 hrs a day.

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