Yes you could kill them and not only that. It can effect there fertility rates if you are going to breed. Its just like if W/we overeat...
I don't think chickens will overeat on feed, but I don't know about scraps. I do know chickens can become overweight if a diet is not balanced (too much scratch, etc.), and that overweight hens sometimes have egg laying issues.
Is it better to free feed in a big hanging feeder or fill feeder just enough for them to eat right away several times per day?...for large chickens, like Wyandottes...??
IMO, it's best to free feed. I keep my 30 lb. feeder in the coop at least halfway filled at all times. I also have a waterer in the coop and two waterers outside the coop.
You can overfeed them treats, which just like kids that will gobble up and ignore their nutritionally complete food. When they eat too much junk, their bodys balance can get out of whack; leading to egg laying issues.
So, IMO it's best to offer them their feed at all times and go easy on the treats.
Yep, Gritsar the Grumpy is absolutely right!
Agree with above. I do think 24/7 chicken feed is a better option than too much treats. I've had to cut back on my treats... I could tell their crops were getting too full and not enough feed was gone.
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I've never known of a chicken to die from overeating. I've always free fed my chickens. And my husband is bad about over treating them. I've caught him in the coop at night feeding them watermelon and all kinds of stuff. I've had to hid the scratch from him before.
You cannot overfeed on poultry feed or free range. Treats and grains possibly but chickens won't eat until they die. They will eat things when they can't digest it or eat something that doesn't give enough nutritional value so they actually starve to death or die of malnutrition. They will die quickly from lack of feed in weather extremes or under other stress and they will lay less if shorted on anything whether that's through limiting their poultry feed or feeding them too many treats that aren't nutritionally balanced.
I'm wondering what "nutritionally balanced" means when it refers to what our chickens eat. I read a couple of older posts on BYC the other day (written by someone who appears to be really knowledgeable about chickens) which went on to explain that the crumbles and pellets we buy for them at the feed store really aren't the best thing for them. I think his point was that chickens will lay well for a couple of years on that diet, but then lose their productivity - and not because that's the "natural" thing for chickens to do, but because they're eating food that isn't really optimal for their systems. He talked about the copious volume of this food they eat and corresponding volume of poop they produce, saying that there are much better ways to feed birds so that they're healthy and aren't just eating and pooping machines. If I recall correctly he said that the bagged feed we buy is really just a fantastic way for the feed mills to use up lower quality grain.

Now, granted, feeding chickens layer crumbles or pellets is pretty convenient. You don't have to think about it much and you can "trust" that it's healthy because it says so on the label. But after reading that post, I'm starting to wonder. I'd link to the exact post I'm talking about but I can't find it right now. The poster goes by "Resolution". Perhaps someone has read it and can link to it. I did see that the poster markets his own chicken kibble and forage blocks, but I really didn't get the sense that he was just talking up his products, but rather that he's honestly of the opinion that we could do better by our flocks.

Personally, I want to feed scraps to my chickens. I've got the obligatory feeder filled with layer crumbles hanging in the coop with my new flock, but we've always got leftover stuff that seems too good to waste. I'd really love to find a way to feed it to the chickens in a way that will make them healthy and me not feel so bad about wasting so much food. I'm brand spanking new to chicken keeping, but I want to be the best chicken keeper I can be. You know what I mean?

I've got a mixed flock of adults and chicks, and once the chicks are big enough to defend themselves from our cat, they'll all have the chance to free range in our wooded back yard. I'm sure there are plenty of insects and other yummy things for them to find - and I'll feel good about them eating them. But I've also got the leftover fish and that little bit of cheese. And then there's that granola that tasted like cardboard. And the bagged spinach I forgot about that's gone a bit soggy.

I'd just really like to know how to combine my scraps with other things so that I can feed them to the chickens and still have healthy birds.

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