Scheduled feeding instead of free feeding

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by starchicky, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. starchicky

    starchicky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had issues lately with mice getting into the free feeder I have set up for feeding pellets to my chickens. Mice poop gets in it, and I have one chicken who is avoiding the pellets now. I'd like to set up grandpa feeders soon, but want to think of other options in the mean time.

    For those of you who feed your chickens at a scheduled time and amount:
    -How often do you feed?
    -How much do you feed? (I want to avoid extra food being left out as much as possible)
    -Or do you put out food for a certain amount of time and then put it away...?

    Thanks!
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Why not just remove the feeders at night? Chickens aren't going to be eating while roosting anyways.
     
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  3. starchicky

    starchicky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] Thank you! Mice are out at night, duh! I still have to remove the free feeders but yes! -I told this to my husband and he's like "I thought of that but didn't want to tell you because I didn't want to go out at night" Lol
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I agree with above poster re: removing feed at night. You might also want to start trapping mice. If your feed is getting contaminated with mice feces, you have quite an infestation. Mice also carry a lot of disease. You can set up traps in a secure box, so that the chickens won't be harmed. You can also make a water bucket trap, if your weather is not yet freezing. (be sure it is in an area where chickens can't fall into your bucket) I would be sure that all feed is removed at night, do scheduled feeding, and above all, switch to fermented feed. Mice can't carry fermented feed back to their nests. Fermented feed will also cut your feed bill because it is more easily digested, there is absolutely no waste. I'm guessing my feed bill with FF is about 30% less than if I were using dry feed. You will also be amazed at how much feed you are loosing to the rodents.
     
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  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I would (and have) set traps for the mice, making sure that the birds can't get to them. The old wood and wire snap traps work very well, better than the newer plastic snap type traps. If you pull the feeders at night, be ready to get them back out at first light, when the birds want to eat! Mary
     
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  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Funny that. I have far better luck with the plastic snap traps. Horrid luck with the old fashioned wooden traps! I can set a plastic trap with peanut butter and a chocolate chip, and use the same bait for repeated kills. Recently killed a 3rd vole with the same chocolate chip, and expect it to continue doing the job until the voles at that site are all gone.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I do a restricted ration with my penned birds being maintained but not expected to grow or produce eggs. Feed is applied in AM before I go to work. Chickens then have all day to glean what is spilt reducing food food left over night for mice over night. Limiting feed for mice will have same effect as using traps.

    You can tweak it for production by feeding closer to what they will eat if given free-choice access although that for me requires more intensive crop-fill monitoring at end of day.
     
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  8. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wish mice only came out at night, mine come out whenever they think the coast is clear. I've seen them at all hours of day.
     
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Yep...mice are not all nocturnal...if the feed is only there in the day they will change their feeding schedule, is all. I've fed meals for years now, as opposed to free feeding. In warm months when forage is good, I feed once each evening and only enough that they can clean it all up before roost time. In the winter months, I feed once each morning and it should be cleaned up before it freezes or before evening time.

    When I fed dry feeds I fed in troughs with fence wire overlay on the trough so the birds couldn't flick or scratch feed out to the floor. Now I feed fermented feed, I don't bother with the overlay but still feed in troughs.

    How much to feed is adjusted with needs of the flock and that can change frequently, so you just have to watch their consumption, what they leave behind or if they clean it up too quickly and that trough is picked too, too clean, their general condition, etc.

    Takes a little more attention to the flock and a little extra work when feeding daily instead of just filling up a feeder now and again, but it saves greatly on feed costs and it also gives you an idea of how much your flock actually consumes per day. Also has the added benefit of discouraging rodents and the snakes that will follow them to your coop, then take your eggs and chicks when they find them.
     
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  10. egg0

    egg0 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a bucket feeder and had the same mice issues. I started adding cayenne pepper to the feed.
     
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