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My Chickens Are Pigs!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by alaskanchickens, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. alaskanchickens

    alaskanchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm new to raising chickens, this is my first winter with them. I have 13 pullets and 1 cockerel that are about 8 1/2 months old right now and am getting 12-13 eggs a day, today we got 15! I absolutely love all of them! The issue I have with them is how much feed we're going through! I go through a 50# bag of 20% layer every 6-7 days. We have had a pretty warm winter, only a couple of weeks were in the -20's. It makes sense that they would eat more during cold weather, but I think that's a little much, feed is close to $25 a bag and it's adding up quick! I'm trying to figure this all out before I get my order of 15 EE's, 16 ducks and 15 turkeys in May. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That seems like twice as much as normal. Sure you're not feeding rats & mice, squirrels or wild birds too?
     
  3. alaskanchickens

    alaskanchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I really have nothing to reference it to, we started with 50 straight run and only kept the 13 hens and 1 rooster, we raised up and butchered the other roosters. 50 birds, with free range in the summer were going through 2 bags a week. I thought that it would be cut down to about a quarter of what I went through before but no such luck! We can't free range now because of all the snow (funniest thing I've ever seen was a hen standing completely still on her first snow, not moving an inch!) They get a decent size mixing bowl of kitchen scraps every morning. As far as other things eating it, we did have a problem with mice in the garage, never saw their little prints around the chicken coop but we set up traps around it anyway. Never caught anything. We did eliminate the issues in the garage though! We don't have wild birds, except chickadees, during the winter and they aren't around my property because we don't have any feeders and we rarely see squirrels. There's not a lot of feed on the ground either and the hens are small, I would think with how much they eat that they would be large and gobby fat!
     
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Can you provide information about what kind of chickens you have?

    Standard breed layers, (usually a small breed like leghorns) should consume about 4 or 4.5 ounces of feed per bird per day. Brown egg layers are heavier and they typically need 6 to 6.5 ounces of feed per day.

    The leghorn type should eat about 27.5 pounds every 7 days. The heavier brown egg layers may consume upwards to 40 pounds of chicken feed every 7 days. Your mileage may very. (That BTW is the reason that brown eggs cost more in the grocery store than white eggs) You have a feed loss or wastage rate of from 20% to 50%. The rate is higher, maybe much higher if you are feeding supplemental food stuffs and/or you allow your hens to free range or forage for food on their own and you have a leghorn type flock. If you have a mixed flock it makes feed consumption difficult to plan ahead for or to figure. My own view is that you are also feeding every red squirrel in your quarter section.
     
  5. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Fat chickens don't get beer bellies or double chins. Chickens carry most of their fat inside the gut and layered up around the vent where it may cause egg laying or other fertility problems. See if you can feel your hens pelvic bones.
     
  6. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Are you feeding mash, crumbles or pellets? What brand name?
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  7. alaskanchickens

    alaskanchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 6 Black Sex Link hens and 1 rooster and 7 Buff Orpington hens. The squirrels here, even though small compared to those in the lower 48, cant fit through the 1/2" mesh that is around the eves for venting. Everything else is tight. We have ermin, we were worried about them getting in and taking eggs and have been known to kill whole flocks of chickens, so we built it to where they couldn't get in. They are quite a bit smaller than the squirrels and we check the wire and make sure nothing is trying to chew through every couple/few of days. We feed twice a day fermented feed, because its good for them and is easier to digest therefor less energy used=less feed and I do give them free choice dry crumble mixed with oyster shell. Surprisingly, they still eat the dry! And the oyster shell is mixed in with it because when its in a dish for free choice, nothing gets eaten, just poo-ed in. Im just extremely shocked that they are eating as much as they are, even with all the scraps 7 kids leave behind in a day. Right now I'm feeding 20% layer but am starting to add ingredients into that as to eventually eliminate the commercial feed and have a custom blend. Is there something else I should be giving them that will cut back on the feed needed? Don't get me wrong, it's not that I can't "afford" my chickens or the other poultry that's coming, I am just trying to do what most are, create a better quality food for my family, better feed without GMO's and chemicals for my animals, and do it economically as possible.
     
  8. alaskanchickens

    alaskanchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lol. My girls are still young, only 8 1/2 months old. They are handled daily by my children and myself and yes, you can feel the pelvic bones. They get fermented crumble, well not so much fermented as soaked just long enough for the mother to form. The brand is a local brand here in Alaska.
     
  9. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Mixing oyster shell in their feed is not a good idea. My hens made a mess of their oyster shell until I started putting the oyster shell in a milk jug with a hole cut in the side of the jug.

    Chickens waste less feed if you use pelles instead of crumbles. I feed FF too. I use crumbles for the FF. I feed free choice pellets on the side.

    What type of feeder do you feed the cumbles in?
     
  10. alaskanchickens

    alaskanchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For the oyster shell, is it because they will eat too much of it? I'll post a pic of the type of feeder we use, wondering if it should be hanging off the floor? [​IMG]
     

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