Ration food versus free feed?


9 Years
Sep 8, 2010
I just got three Golden Buff hens that I keep in a small coop and pen. I'm feeding them high quality pellets for layers. I assumed that I would just keep the feeder hanging in the coop 24/7, but I read somewhere that I should take it away late afternoon to keep them from over-eating. Any opinions?

I let mine have free-choice. That way the lower-pecking-order hens get plenty to eat, and it's less work for me.
They won't overeat. Don't let them get hungry as they can't forage for more food. They will be happier and pick on each other less.

Oh, and I only feed and water my chickens in the run (not in the coops). I remove the food at night due to rodents. But I let them out at daybreak and don't rush them to bed at night. So they are able to eat when it is daylight.

But I didn't start this until about 6 weeks of age. Before that, I gave them food and water 24/7.
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I free feed my chickens, my dogs, and my cats. The only thing I ration are treats. I don't want them filling up on less nutritious foods. No one has gotten fat except me.
I bring in the food at night so as not to encourage mice, etc. My girls do some supervised free ranging.

I think what you may be referring to is for meaties. Alot of people take their food away so they don't overeat. Usually layers are fed free choice

How do you tell if one's fat or not? But maybe you are right, That could be the reason all mine feather pick and have dull looking heads and feathers
My girls have free choice plus treats. They are very healthy, BOSS keeps their feathers very shiny...they dig fox holes and the dirt flies when they are taking a dirt bath and are busy ALL the time. I can not imagine leaving them with no food or measuring what they receive since some days they are very busy and need more while other days they don't eat as much (overcast days). They are definitely not fat! Have to agree...I'm the one with the weight problem!

Today they had blackeyed peas with alfalfa pellets and homemade yogurt. They cleaned it up in nothing flat. The alfalfa is making their yolks nice and dark...so glad to see that I will be able to keep the yolks looking good once Winter takes away all the greens in the garden.
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Mine have free access to food and they are not fat by any means. They get yogurt and peanut butter mix in the afternoon and 2 handfuls of oats in the am. None of them are fat. I have feed them leftovers until they finally walked away and would not eat another bite. They stop when sated.

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