What amount should I be feeding? When should they start going out?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kaykaypw, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. kaykaypw

    kaykaypw Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 31, 2011
    Napa, CA
    Hi All,
    I've been lurking for about a year. I finally have moved to an area where I can keep chickens and have hatched some eggs. My chicks were hatched October1 and October 9. I have two Sicilian Buttercups (a roo and a hen), and three bantam Cochins. I have a three pound feeder that I fill 1/2 way daily.
    But, since they are still in a brooder there has been a lot of mess/wasted feed. I need to balance their daily requirements with not wasting feed. They scratch/peck out the food in the feeder in a matter of minutes and pick through it throughout the day. In the evening I dump and scrub out their bin. It makes me sick to see the wasted feed in the trash.
    So - how much by pound should I be offering daily? Everyone says to free feed, but I could fill that three pound feeder and waste a lot of it every day.

    I also have some questions regarding when I should start weathering them to stay outside. Is there an age I should be waiting until or a size? They are all mostly feathered at this point. We are located in Napa, CA and have 60's in the day, 40's at night. They will have straw in their coop and a heat lamp when it gets really cold. I can't wait to have the little buggers out of my office!

  2. aprille218

    aprille218 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2009
    northern MN
    Your chickens should be able to go outside any time now. (I have 12 two week old feathered chicks in an outside brooder building with just a heat lamp, they're doing great and it's much colder here in Minnesota)
    I'd have the heat lamp on for them outside for a while so it helps get them acclimated. Put it somewhere where if they're cold they can go to it but have plenty of space to explore if they'd like to get away from it.
    Will they be in a pen outside or free ranging? It would probably be best if they were locked up for a while to get used to their new house.
    As for feed if you can get the feeder higher where their feet can't get into it as easily it will help with the waste. Put both the feeder and waterer up on blocks or hang them up if you can so the shortest chickens you have can just reach in to eat/ drink. It saves alot on feed and keeps the water cleaner.
    Hope this helps
  3. lokua

    lokua Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 25, 2011
    Don't worry about the birds too much... mine went outside full time at 9 weeks old. No heat added at all. I spent about 2 weeks transitioning them and they never noticed anything different. I had similar problems with wasted feed and tons of pine bedding in the water. Putting it up on bricks helped. Eventually i hung them from over head and that eliminated all wasted feed and dirty water. When they try to bill out the feed the feeder spins slightly and they eventually got sick of the extra effort I guess.

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