Limiting feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by FirewifeJess, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. FirewifeJess

    FirewifeJess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I seem to have 2 groups of chicken friends. One group is adamant about providing their chickens access to feed full time and insists that if you don't do this you'll get many fewer eggs. The other group says they don't see a difference and they basically just toss out a giant scoop of feed to their chickens once or twice a day (if that!) and still get plenty of eggs, but don't go broke on feed.

    After tracking my girls' feed intake for a month, my dozen chickens is going through 75lbs a month of Layena. That's a LOT! Because of this, I'm toying with the idea of limiting feed. For those who do this, how do you decide how much your chickens get? Do you still use a feeder or just toss feed on the ground a couple times a day? I would like to understand more about this to decide if it's the best option for us. I CAN afford to feed them whatever they desire...but I don't know if I WANT to afford to feed them 75lbs a month! eek!
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    How many birds, and what size? Bantam? Large fowl?

    The average large fowl hen eats 4-6 ounces per day. Tossing feed onto the ground is quite inefficient and the waste is pretty awful as I see it. Scratch grains, with larger pieces, is somewhat different, but crumbles just contain far too many small pieces that will be lost.

    Feeding by rations requires experience and close observation, but it is successfully done by thousands of flock keepers.
     
  3. FirewifeJess

    FirewifeJess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 12 large fowl dual purpose birds (but they're all for eggs, not meat). 6 Easter Eggers, 2 Buff Orps, 1 RIR, 1 Welsummer, 1 Marans, 1 Black Australorp. They're a little over 8 months old and all are laying.
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    75 lbs is less than 4 ounces, per bird, per day. (if I didn't screw up on the calculator)

    You can't hardly feed 12 large fowl for less than what you are doing. I suspect they either free range or receive scraps in addition to the 75 lbs of Layena?
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  5. FirewifeJess

    FirewifeJess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's great to know! I didn't know how to calculate it at all. YES, they free range the half acre all day, every day, unless the weather is torrential. We don't get a lot of snow here (only had it 2-3 days so far) but we do get rain almost every day here near Seattle. Guess I didn't realize they weren't eating that much for the size group they are. I will reconsider all this then. Thanks for the perspective Fred.
     
  6. FirewifeJess

    FirewifeJess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, I just calculated it too. It's only 3.22oz per day per hen! Maybe I have it better off than I thought...
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Many of the birds I am feeding average 5 lbs and recieve a maintenance ration that is currently about 4.4 oz / bird / day. The feed is roughly 1/2 grower / finisher with a protein content of about 20% and 1/2 scratch mixture with some other stuff added in to give a diet that has about 14 to 16% crude protein. My birds are very exposed to environment with protection restricted to blocking direct north wind and direct precipitation. At this time of year I am not pushing for egg production so feed I supply is simply to keep them alive and healthy. When wind chill increases I adjust the scratch mixture making so energy intake varies much more than protein. Same ration would be close to what it takes same birds confined indoors to start laying. Applying more feed would not result in any substantual increase in intake but this will soon change as daylength increases.


    My American Dominiques will consume more because hens at least seem to have a defualt want to produce eggs.
     

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