Seasonal feeding?

Jackie-83

In the Brooder
May 26, 2020
30
41
36
Ok, so I'm new to chickens. I have 8 hens. I've noticed the last week or so that they seem extra hungry. They have access to chicken feed 24/7 and I throw them scratch during the day. I used the scratch to train them to come when they are called because I let them free range during the day. The past few days my girls run to me begging for food. I first thought they just wanted the scratch, so I started giving them regular feed instead. They still do it... why do they seem so hungry? Is it seasonal?
 

Jackie-83

In the Brooder
May 26, 2020
30
41
36
Chickens are always optimistic you have something delicious to eat. That's pretty normal for them to come running to see, especially when you bring them stuff.
Ok, but when i give them something, they eat like they haven't seen food in a week. I mean i can take food out of their feeder, or move their feeder to a new location they attack it. I'd understand if it was treats, but just normal food, i dont get it. I thought maybe it had to do with the days getting longer because i was told that some commercial farms keep the lights on all the time so that the chickens eat more and grow faster.
 

Jackie-83

In the Brooder
May 26, 2020
30
41
36
They are andalusians. 6-8 months old. I have 8 girls laying 7 or 8 eggs a day. 2 are younger than the rest, and they are currently only laying about 5 days a week. The other 6 lay everyday like clockwork. Im feeding purina layena pellets. I also give them scratch and other treats. Grapes, melon, mealworms... but not very often.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,178
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southern Michigan
Your pullets are working hard producing all those eggs! Nice!
Layer feed is meant as their sole diet, and adding scratch and other stuff dilutes it's perfect balance, especially the protein levels. It's fine, but do limit the goodies at least.
Having them come when called is a very good thing, so some treats are helpful. Mine dive into the feed too, when it's spilled on the floor, as if it's a yummy new thing!
Mary
 

Jackie-83

In the Brooder
May 26, 2020
30
41
36
So this is fairly normal behavior? I swear they have only started it the past week.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Grateful
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
45,528
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Wisconsin
Yes. They have access to feed and water 24/7.
Generally mine consume more feed in winter, but mine free range during the warm months so they consume less feed. Hens in production will eat more, than those not producing. Growing birds eat like they are starving sometimes. Feeding a higher protein ration can help them eat a bit less. I like 18-20% protein in my rations. Layena I believe is only 16% protein. You might want to try a higher protein and see if that helps.
 

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