Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by cheeptrick, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. cheeptrick

    cheeptrick Songster

    May 1, 2007
    New Hampshire
    Now I know I'm not supposed to feed them too much...they free range daily and I give them treats daily (cheese, cottage cheese, bologna, melon, grapes, peaches etc). Plus I give them about 10 cups of layer feed a day. They are HUGE. Should I be careful how fat they get? I was thinking about putting them on a chicken DIET! LOL
    Still NO eggs [​IMG]
  2. cookinmom

    cookinmom Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    Saint George GA
    If they get too fat, it makes it easier for them to get eggbound. It's hard to know how much is too much though. There was a thread on here a while back about this, but I can't find it now, but I know somebody said one of the signs of them being overweight was if they were lethargic and couldn't run around. Oh wait, I think I remembered something else in that thread.... be right back.

    Ok, here's the thread.. Folks did get into a bit of a 'discussion' on other stuff, but just ignore that. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2007
  3. chicknmania

    chicknmania Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    We don't give ours layer in the summer; ours are free range, too. They shouldn't need it with all the other stuff they're eating this time of year. They may not be laying because a lot of chickens start moulting around now, and they don't lay much while they're doing that. Also, heat can be a factor, or if you're having a lot of rainy cool grey days; we are heading into fall and they will start to slow down on laying; even if you provide artificial light they still slow down some. If they are fat and free ranging, you really are feeding them too much, I think.
  4. cheeptrick

    cheeptrick Songster

    May 1, 2007
    New Hampshire
    Mine are 20 weeks old today...would they moult now too?
    I think I am feeding them too much...I'm mixing layer with grower and almost completely switched to the layer now...I think I'm at like 80/20 ratio with the mix now.
    I stopped giving them free choice feed around 2 months or so. But since I've been keeping them cooped waiting for them to start to lay they've been eating more feed. Feeling terrible keeping them all cooped up....they seem OK with it...not fighting much. I do let them out at around 4pm till 8pm for ranging. Felt they LOVE all over me when I let them free! I was sitting in my porch and here they all come...waddling over 24 chickens to sit at my feet!
    OK...I've got to get off this computer! So much work to do today!
  5. allen wranch

    allen wranch Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    It sounds like the cheese amd bologna may be the fat problem if they get it every day. They don't need it. They are processed foods and have a lot of salt and addatives. Fresh veggies and fruits are best as treats, but not as the main diet. Their main foods should be whatever they pick up free ranging and layer feed.

    Why are you locking them up ? If they are used to going into the coop at night, and you have nest boxes available, they will seek them out when they are ready to lay. Even if you coop them up until they lay, a few may still prefer to find a spot outside anyway.

    It also sounds like they are eating more food because they are confined and probably bored. I eat when I am bored (and stressed and agitated) and the results show on me just like your chickens.

    I would lay off on the fatty treats and let them outside more to walk off some of the fat. As said earlier, eggbinding is a problem with overweight hens and it is sometimes a problem with first time layers. That gives them two strikes.
  6. Quote:I’ve asked this of others but haven’t gotten an answer yet, so I will keep pluggin’ away until I figure it out.[​IMG] Why do folks not use free choice (24-7) feeding? It seems like such a hassle to have to feed them and keep up w/ their needs. Plus I worry that they might get too hungry.

    Mine are about 20 week as well. Are you saying you were free ranging them and now have them confined until 4p? I know, they do love to get out there!
  7. Zenbirder

    Zenbirder Songster

    May 3, 2007
    New Mexico
    I have food available at all times and free range. I have been happy to report the RIR are all going back to the appropriate nest boxes to lay during the day. I think when they are loose and not bored, plus the extra exercise, it would be hard for them to get fat. My treats are fruits and vegetables, i wouldn't feed fatty things to them either.
  8. Standard Hen

    Standard Hen Songster

    May 17, 2007
    My birds also have feed all day and even when they free range(when they are not in lockdown when I have a predator problem) they still go to their pen and eat their grain. They may not eat as much but they still eat it even though they are chowing down on grass and bugs. Little pigs.
  9. cookinmom

    cookinmom Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    Saint George GA
    Quote:Mine too. I let mine for a little while in the am, and for a while in the evening (we have freerange dogs in the neighborhood). They try to eat all the grass in the yard, then they go in the run and start scarfing feed!
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    My birds free range all day and have free choice pellets. They even go home to get nibbles on pellets every once in a while. I think they know what is good for them. As for treats, they only get left overs and since we don't eat much preprocessed junk, they don't get it either. Cut out the fatty stuff and they should lose weight quick. I adopted some hens who had lots of scratch and treats in their diet and they dropped about half a lb to a lb of fat within the first month on the free range and eat table scrap plus free choice feed diet. Much faster on their feet and not so yellow.

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