How much to feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Twiga, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. Twiga

    Twiga Out Of The Brooder

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    As we head into winter there is less for my free range chickens to find in the garden. I have always fed them pellets and mixed grain but they seem to be begging me all day for more. How much grain should an adult chicken get per day? If I leave the pellet feeder topped up they will just finish it and not free range , plus I will attract rats and other birds come to steal. What to do?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    I don't know where you live but around here, there's very little left for free range chicken eats. There's no bugs left, very little greenery and that leaves a few seeds but certainly not enough to satiate or provide the nutrition chickens need.
    It's your choice but if they're eating chicken feed with that much alacrity, they're hungry.
    Grain, in most circumstances, should be 10% or less of their total intake.
     
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  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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  4. woody1

    woody1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Once they learn where treats come from, chickens will always beg for more. Grain of most any kind is a treat so they're just like a kid with a choice of cookies and ice cream or spuds and gravy. Which will they eat first given a choice? Our girls always come running whenever they see one of us. "Did you bring treats, we're just so hungry!" I do believe one should provide free choice layer feed or at least provide all they need at no less than 2 feedings during daylight hours. Depending on lots of variables, that would be somewhere around 1/3 lb. per hen. Ours generally need a little less because we feed an 18% ration and the inevitable scratch treats once a day.

    As far as attracting rodents and birds, yep, if they can get at the feed you'll have 'em. I highly recommend a treadle feeder. If you don't know what it is, do a search here. No, I'm not trying to sell you one. I build my own and without 'em I'd be feeding an unknown quantity of mice, sparrows and starlings.

    Regards, Woody
     
  5. Twiga

    Twiga Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank both for these helpful replies. I was surprised to learn that only 10 % should be mixed grain - given the choice the chickens will eat grain all day, and I have been handing it out 2 - 3 times a day as treats. The layer pellets are therefore the main staple of their diet and I will make sure they always have access to this. I will cut down on the grain now, and vary the treats more.

    Incidentally is there any harm in feeding them live maggots? we had a pot of maggots for fishing which will not be used now and my husband thinks that the chicken's crop may become infested with maggots if I feed them ... ??
     
  6. woody1

    woody1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Give 'em the maggots, stand back and watch the attack! Chickens are meat eaters.
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    IMO, it would depend on what the maggots were feeding on. Yours are probably fine to feed. What I mean is that if the maggots were consuming something that would cause the chickens fungal or bacterial poisoning if chickens ate the same thing. Things like moldy grain or botulism.

    I got into a routine once of tossing out a handful of grains several times a day to one flock to get them to move from one pen to another. I did this for quite some time till I lost a nice bird. Doing a necropsy she was completely full of fat. You couldn't even see the gizzard as it was encased in a ball of fat. The rest immediately went on a diet.
     
  8. Twiga

    Twiga Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok so grain makes them fat!? I will be more careful with it now, thank you!
     
  9. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your chickens will easily eat double and even triple what they eat in the summer months right now. They need extra calories to stay warm and they aren't getting much of anything free ranging.
     
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    If they get too much. There's a lot of carbs in grain. That converts to energy - or fat.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014

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