monitoring feed intake as function of season

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by centrarchid, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    My free ranging chickens are providing me a challenge in respect to feed consumption as temprature drops and wind picks up. they are eating more. I would like be able to predict feed consumption so I can appropriately size my hopper, mixing and storage system. Anyone track feed consumption?
     
  2. Lotsapaints

    Lotsapaints Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2010
    Paso Robles, CA
    It doesn't get that cold where I live often right now we have been in the teens and I've just changed my feed so it's hard to tell..I'll say the consumption went up 10% about 3 weeks ago when the weather changed to more fall like close to freezing early in the am and 70 during the day and it hasn't seemed to change now that it's colder maybe even less with the feed change. I'm getting lots of eggs nice sized and the chickens seem happy so I'm pleased.
     
  3. emarble

    emarble Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi there fello missourian! I am not an expert on this but from what I noticed! Mine are consuming approx .5 lbs of feed per chicken per day with the cold weather! I dont know if that is normal or not but they are not free ranging as much as they were in the warmer months! Hope that helps and that is just my observation of what mine are consuming! They are getting a blend that they make at the feed store for me! It has Cracked corn/alfalfa and some other stuff in it! If you wanna know the exact mix I will find out comes out at about 17%

    Ernie
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Hey Ernie of Missouri,

    Mine have have been consuming about 1/8 pound / bird / day until the last week or so when it nearly doubled. I bump up feed when thay start ranging further from feed station. Generally speaking increased ranging this coincides with feeders becoming empty. Normally the flock hits feeders heavily only in morning and evening. Now they hit it every couple hours.

    Jim
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Looks like I may have found a system for reliably meeting protein (and other key nutritents) needs even as energy requirments increase with dipping temperatures and increasing wind speeds. I have been using a feeder filled with consistent amount of high quality grower and then broadcast a known amount of scratch some distance away from feeder. Still working out particulars but each bird seems to require a set amount of protein per day once in maintenance mode. It is the energy component of intake that I can play with. I bump up and down the scratch feed rate such that not all of feed from feeder is consumed. Now that snow cover is regular, the high protein feed is targeted first but the birds like to look about for alternatives which is dominated by scratch. If scratch amount comes up short, birds range further. Enough scratch is scattered to ensure with modest ranging energy requirments always met. Trying to keep birds from ranging from cover patches provides guide as to how much scratch is needed.
     

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