How to properly feed chickens for/during winter

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Cavendish Chickens, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. Cavendish Chickens

    Cavendish Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2010
    Summit County, Ohio
    Okay, I have three chickens. 1 speckled sussex roo (will be 6 months on Nov. 21), and 2 leghorn (1 brown, 1 white) hens (5 months old on Nov. 12). The rooster seems big enough, but sometimes I think he's smaller than he looks (that maybe it's just the feathers making him look big). And the hens are still smaller and on the thin side. I often give them treats (dry oats, scrambled eggs, and corn). I wonder if it would be good for them if I fattened them up for the winter, and if so... what are healthy ways to do so? On an all day basis, they are all eating layena laying feed. No eggs yet. Not sure if they will until spring. We're not using artificial light. This is our first winter with chickens, and I'd like to make sure they are healthy and strong throughout the winter. We have closed the top of their run with wood, and put plastic around the sides and over the wood. There are gaps that will allow moisture to escape. The coop is inside the run, and has a tarp over it. It also has heating pads inside of it, under the straw, to help heat it. It also has an 8 ft long gap across the top back to help moisture escape. So, my main thing I'm working on now is making sure I am feeding them appropriately for the winter. Thanks to all who respond!
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2010
  2. Cavendish Chickens

    Cavendish Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2010
    Summit County, Ohio
    Can anyone offer a newbie advice?
     
  3. justcelia

    justcelia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 24, 2010
    SE Michigan
    I would like to know too!
    Silly girls just don't seem to eat enough. They sorta eat like Birds! LOL!
    Mine have not started laying yet either. Anyday now, or possibly spring?


    Celia
    2 Brahma girls!
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Leghorns are usually good layers so I would imagine they will start before spring --- but that is my guess, and if they wait til spring, it doesn't mean there is something wrong.
    They are also quite small birds. I have one (had a few) along with a few breeds of dual purpose large fowl. None are bantams, but the leghorn is so much smaller than the rest that she about looks like a bantam. (But she's also the top hen!) They were bred to lay a lot and not eat much, and are used extensively by the egg industry, so I think you are probably just seeing the result of breeding. I also have two speckled sussex hens and they are the next smallest of my bunch, which also includes australorps, orps, NH reds and several mutts. It sounds to me like you are doing fine.
     
  5. Cavendish Chickens

    Cavendish Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2010
    Summit County, Ohio
    Hey ddawn... we've chatted before about my small "flock". I'd really like to get a speckled sussex hen or two to add to my group. Guess I'll have to keep my eyes out in the spring for a couple. Maybe I can trick my leghorns into thinking they are their babies, so they can raise them. lol
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:Oh sure -- a broody Leghoen -- I've read about a few, but.... I've never had one go broody. After I found BYC and all this great info, I bought breeds that ARE supposed to go broody, which includes sussex. I have two, who never go broody (of course) but on the other hand they are by far my friendliest and gentlest birds. Wish I had a roo, I'd finish my breeding setup and breed them (I can only breed mutts now.)

    Oh, well, you wanted to raise baby chicks again, didn't you? (For me, NOT. That's what broodies are for.)
     
  7. Cavendish Chickens

    Cavendish Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2010
    Summit County, Ohio
    In a way I'd like to raise babies again, but not deal with the incubation. And I thought if a hen could raise them, then she/they AND the roo would think they were theirs and not some strange invaders. lol The girls were raised together where I got them, but the guy didn't have anymore sussex. (Besides the one I gave back.) We plan to get silkies in the spring because we heard they were one of the sweetest breeds. (And we like the way they look.) Not sure if anyone else around here has speckled sussex chickens. I just want a hen or two that match the rooster. I learned that there are more breeds of sussex besides speckled while looking for hens. Never did find speckled hens. [​IMG] They are so pretty, and I really love their "speckles". I'll have to keep my eyes out in the spring. But I wonder if the other chickens will constantly pick at her/them. Hmm.... Guess they will, at least until they work out the dominance business.
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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  9. Cavendish Chickens

    Cavendish Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    119
    Apr 24, 2010
    Summit County, Ohio
    Thanks ddawn!
     
  10. Robo

    Robo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2010
    Knoxville,TN
    If you want to fatten them up I would feed them scratch or cracked corn. I had a buff orpington rooster hit 11 pounds by eating the corn and pushing the layer pellets aside. He was a good rooster. He probably has lost some weight at his new home since they feed layer crumbles and no corn.
     

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