How often will I have to buy food for 5 hens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Nuklear, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Nuklear

    Nuklear Chillin' With My Peeps

    56
    2
    74
    Sep 28, 2012
    Southern California
    I don't have chickens yet, but I want to know how often I'll have to buy feed for them. They'll be large breeds like an Orpington, Australorp, Barred Rock, Golden-Laced Wyandotte, and a Speckled Sussex.

    They'll be free-ranging chickens when I'm out with them, and inside a run when I'm not ( I don't want a hawk or some other predator attacking them when I'm not around). If given free choice of food, how many pounds will they go through? I don't want to buy too much feed where it'll turn bad.
     
  2. Curlymg

    Curlymg Out Of The Brooder

    61
    1
    41
    Mar 21, 2012
    Rio Rico, Arizona
    I have 5 chickens; two Buff Orpington hens, two Easter Egger hens and a Barred Rock rooster. I buy a 50lb bag of feed that lasts me about 2 months. They're given the feed free choice and they do not free range. I always throw about two handfuls of scratch in their run daily, and they get kitchen scraps about twice a week. [​IMG] .. Also, when their feed runs out (I buy crumbles) there's always a lot of "dust" left behind, which is really just crumbles that are no longer in crumble form. My chickens aren't interested in eating it in this form so I mix it with water (not all of it, just what I guess my chickens will eat so it won't get moldy) and they eat it all up happily! So my feed is never wasted.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  3. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,242
    208
    208
    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I also have 5 hens: 3 large fowl and 2 bantums. I buy a 50 lb bag of food every 2 months ish. Mine do free range but my yard is very small. I feed a handful of scratch and a handful of mealworms daily. A safe gage is about 1/4 lb per bird daily if you are trying to budget.

    If you want to reduce that amount you should read about growing fodder or fermenting feed.
     
  4. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,341
    105
    218
    Aug 18, 2011
    Virginia
    Yup - about 2 months.

    I'm switching from crumbles to pellets and hoping that there will be less waste and it will last just a little bit longer. Of course, it may backfire on me - they seem to LOVE the pellets. Even more than the scratch!!!!
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    5 grown hens will together eat a pound of feed each day. Thus, a 50 pound bag will last 50 days. In winter, they may require a bit more.

    The amount of scraps and quality free ranging time may reduce that amount by a fair bit. One caution, feed goes stale and old somewhat quickly. I'd not personally want to keep feed around any longer than 2 months. FWIW
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  6. Greasydog26

    Greasydog26 Chillin' With My Peeps

    101
    3
    88
    May 21, 2012
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    Thats crazy! I have eight hens that just started to lay about a month ago. I am going through about 50 lbs. in 2.5 weeks and they FREE RANGE. They also get scraps 3-4 times per week. I am starting to wonder if they have worms because they always seem hungry...Any chicken experts have any suggestions of what it might be or do I just have the hot dog eating champs of the chicken world [​IMG] !!!
     
  7. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,341
    105
    218
    Aug 18, 2011
    Virginia
    Maybe they're wasting a lot of it?? What are you feeding?
    I used to use the type of feeder that had a big 'jar' attached to a dish - like a big chick feeder. One of my girls would just stand there scooping feed out till it was empty - THEN she would start to eat off the floor.
    I saw this in the feeder section of the "Coops" page
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Solved the scooping problem immediately. I fill the pipe once a week.
    They stay in their run (dogs in the yard) but they also get kitchen cleanins' every day.


    edited to add:
    OR - maybe they're 'sharing' with something else. Wild birds?? Mice?? Rats!!??? Something else???
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I'd ask you this question. What are you feeding? I don't care about the shape nearly as much as whether it has animal protein or not?
     
  9. Greasydog26

    Greasydog26 Chillin' With My Peeps

    101
    3
    88
    May 21, 2012
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    Bartlet 18 % Chicken mash. I went to the Bartlett website and it says they use no animal protien in their feeds. Below is a picture of my feeder and I dont have to much of a problem with them raking the food out. This picture was taken when I had mixed oyster shells with the feed but they don't seem to like it so I don't do that anymore. Any suggestions why they seem to be eating more than everyone elses chickens.....


    [​IMG]
     
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    In the past, we never had to worry about animal protein because feed makers just routinely included it. Over the past few years, the move has been toward purely vegetable protein in chicken feed. I'm simply not a fan.

    The old wives tale about birds needing corn in the winter to "warm them up" is largely a myth. Corn is a carb and produces energy. Protein is likely far more important to inner body temperature than carbs. In fact, too high a protein feed in the summer isn't indicated. Protein in the cooler/colder months is indicated. If the feed does not have adequate animal protein or no animal protein at all, it is my experience that the birds consume much more feed, seeking both the protein and the heat generating capacity required during the colder months.

    I've found that when raising out chicks that a Gamebird formula, with 24% protein, largely built on animal protein (3rd ingredient in the bag tag) results in far less total feed consumed. A high animal protein feed base also allows for room in the diet for more whole or cracked grains and alfalfa meal, thus off setting the expense of the Gamebird feed. If that all seems too fussy, then feeding a layer formula of 16% protein is fine, if that protein is largely made up of animal sources.

    Just my $.02. Hope it helps.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by