on-demand feeding vs. twice daily

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by gadus, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. gadus

    gadus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 28, 2015
    Apologies if this has been discussed...

    What are the pros and cons of on-demand vs. manual feeding? Will on-demand result in more consumption (unrelated to any waste food)?

    I want to build a wall-mounted food storage bin to hold one month's supply but am unsure about whether I should make it on-demand or with a manual dispenser. Due to the snow that's coming soon, I'm moving the feeding operation inside; they've been outside every day and feeding from two feeders I've got situated under the coop out of the weather.

    I go through a 50-lb bag of 22% game feed every two weeks, for an average of about .2 lbs/bird per day. I am supplementing with compost and occasional scratch but plan to be strictly game feed and compost through the winter months. I have been filling their two feeders once in the morning and once in late afternoon; usually there is some left at the end of the day.

    To date, there are zero pests in the area so any spillage has not produced any ill effects other than efficiency.

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    By compost I assume you mean kitchen scraps? I’m kind of confused on that point. Or do you mean fermented feed? Anyway, that’s just curiosity, it does not affect my response.

    I can’t compare on-demand versus twice daily, but I can give a bit of information on how a lot of commercial operations do it. They know exactly how much total food they want their chickens to eat individually. They use timed feeding. They have enough feeder space so each chicken can eat at the same time. First thing in the morning after they wake up they release just enough food so it will be cleaned up, then wait until they are hungry again to release more. This keeps the food hogs and bullies from keeping the weaker chickens from eating. They are too busy eating themselves to think about being bullies. This way the food hogs don’t over eat and the weaker ones eat enough. By the end of the day each hen has eaten enough to produce a nice egg without any of them overeating.

    I cannot tell you how much to feed at a time or the timing intervals. I’d think there would be some trial and error to get that down in your circumstances.
  3. gadus

    gadus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 28, 2015
    Correct that compost = kitchen scraps, which ordinarily would have gone to a "compost pile."

    I may have confused the issue with discussion of feeding regimen. In a nutshell, I'm building a food storage "hopper" to hold about 100 lbs of feed but am uncertain whether or not to construct it such that it acts as an on-demand feeder or just as a simple storage bin, not built for dispensing.
  4. Make it free choice........

  5. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I feed fermented feed and serve it twice a day. Through experimentation, I've found that the flock consumes a half a cup of FF per chicken each day. I feed first thing in the morning and again in late afternoon. Mid-day they get some form of raw veggies I've stored for the winter.

    Rarely, I need to give them dry feed, and I offer it free choice in a regular dry feeder. It's a natural way to feed dry feed, as far as I'm concerned, and more convenient than trying to serve it twice a day.

    Either way, I've not seen any evidence of over-eating.
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by