scheduled feeding vs. automatic

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Laura1166, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. Laura1166

    Laura1166 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 18, 2009
    Osceola, MO
    We have been giving our chickens a few cans of feed every morning and then some scratch in the afternoon. We are feeding them in troughs right now. I'm intrigued by the automatic - on demand feeders, but I'm hesitant to switch because I think they will just gorge themselves, and we'll be out of a lot of valuable feed.

    Can I just transition to the automatic feeder and will they just balance themselves out and learn to depend on it? Do automatic feeders only work if you have a small flock?

    I have over 100 chickens but about 50 of them are roosters and will be butchered in about a month.


  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I've never limited feed - I have an automatic feeder and let the birds eat how much they want, when they want. None of them is fat. Mine do free range all day though and just swing by the feeder every now and then for a top up.
  3. Laura1166

    Laura1166 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 18, 2009
    Osceola, MO
    Good to know, thanks... I had forgotten to mention that all ours are free range also. I would love for them to have more control of their own feeding. Recently they have gotten so enthusiastic at feeding time that they are now literally swarming all over us and it's too overwhelming for me. Your way sounds so much more peaceful.
  4. txchickie

    txchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    I keep feeders full, and they free-range. They still come a flopping and squawking when they see me with the little bucket of cracked corn [​IMG]

    I think chickens are meant to graze throughout the day. I'd keep feed out for them at all times, but that's just me [​IMG]
  5. felidaet

    felidaet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2008
    Vancouver, Wa.
    I have not heard of Canned food. I am curious what you are feeding them. ????

    You did not mention what kind of chickens you are raising. Are the pullets going to be egg layers or are they meat birds? I have heard that you need to restrict the amount of food for more meat birds.

    I am raising egg layers. They have feed available 24 hours a day. I built a feed bin that holds about 150 lbs of feed. I am putting about 100 lbs of feed (Purina Layena pellets) in it at a time and find that it is lasting 4 - 5 weeks for 17 pullets. Mine do not free range due to predators (Hawks and Eagles) and the desire to keep them out of my vegetable garden. I give them lots garden scraps, weeds from the garden, and occasional table scraps. I try to give them a large wheelbarrow full of weeds at least twice a week. They are sure going to miss these this winter. Since frost destroyed most of my garden a few days ago I am going to start giving them some supervised free range time over the next few weekends when it is not raining.
  6. Laura1166

    Laura1166 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 18, 2009
    Osceola, MO
    Oh! "a few cans of feed" was a measurement - sorry we use an old bean can to measure out the food. We use Layena pellets.

    I don't know... why would you restrict the feed for meat birds? It seems like you would want to fatten them up.

    I really am liking the idea of having an on demand feeder, so we'll be getting right on that as soon as we can.


  7. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

    May 11, 2008
    Howell Michigan
    I have 2 flocks in separate pens. 26LF and 12 bantams. I use a Kuhl 50# range feeder in both and have been very happy with how it's worked out. No wasted feed.
  8. Michael56

    Michael56 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 9, 2014
    I am using a Chicken Demand Feeder. The feeds will fall to the dish only when the chickens peck on it for food.
  9. jmagill

    jmagill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2009
    Western Wyoming
    I use the same kind of feeder as Michael. Love it. I also have always fed free choice.
  10. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 10, 2014
    Some of the cornish cross strains basically don't have the trigger that says "hey, you're full, stop eating". They'll basically eat themselves to death. You can have month old birds suffering heart attacks, broken legs, hip failure, etc.

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