Will they eat till they pop?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by DazeGoneBy, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. DazeGoneBy

    DazeGoneBy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 25, 2011
    We have three hens, standard sized, ranging from 3 - 5 months old. We still have they little yellow plastic feeder we got when they were babies...see pic below.


    They eat all the food it will hold in a single day. All that is left is about 1/2 inch of fine, dust powder by the next morning.

    So we are going to leave town for 4 days and I suggested my hubby should buy a bigger feeder to hold more food to last them...something the same size as their waterer shown in the same pic above.

    But he thinks they will eat ALL the food in a bigger container ASAP, and not last 4 days till we get back. he's wanting to ask the neighbors to come feed them each day, but I don't want to burden them with that if we don't need to.

    Please advise, and I'll show him the responses from the BYC experts. Thanks!
  2. NovaAman

    NovaAman Overrun With Chickens

    Your hubbys is right. Your neighbor only needs to let them in the run, make sure the feeder is full, then close up at night. It'll take all of 10 minutes each day. Besides, it's better that someone look in on them everyday just to be safe. And you can offer to pay them, or the oldest kid if they've got one $5 a day.

    But no, they will not eat till they pop. I guess you could try adding another 10# feeder and see how well that goes. I have 12 full grown birds that take 3 days to go thru a feeder, BUT they also free range ALL DAY so I use less...
  3. Hunter0704

    Hunter0704 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 8, 2011
    Wentzville, MO
    Check online and see if you have a PET SITTER in your area...I started with them taking care of my dogs when we were gone, and then when we got chickens it cost no more for them to feed them, water them, lock them in the coop at night (last visit for dogs to go out to potty,) and clean their coop also. I would be lost and confined to never leaving home without my pet sitter. They will come to your home as many times as you want them to...I have them come four times a day starting at 8:00 a.m. and the last visit is at 8-8:30 p.m. CHECK IT OUT! Of course, if your neighbor will do it for free, hey, that's what I would do.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  4. Auscal

    Auscal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2010
    I would get a larger feed now, and see how it works. I agree with others that they will only eat so much, then stop.

    To me, your coop looks very secure. Unless you have predators that can dig underneath (I can't tell if your coop is skirted) I don't see the need to lock them in at night (do you currently?).

    IMHO, your chickens will be fine unattended for four days. I would, however, leave an additional source of water, just in case the waterer leaks. Maybe just ask your neighbour to check every 2nd day, just to be safe.

    A very rough estimate is that adult chickens will eat 4 oz of chicken food a day - younger birds a bit less. If you are going through substantionally more than that, chances are you are feeding rodents and/or birds, or your girls are wasting a lot of food. Do you have your current feeder hanging about the height of their back - this should help minimize them scratching food out. Most people also find less waste with pellets than crumbles (and both are less wasteful than mash)

    BTW - that is a very cute coop & run!
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'm guessing your birds are wasting a lot of food every day. I think they'd be okay leaving them, but if you have someone avail to check on them I'd do that. What if the waterer gets knocked over, leaks out, etc? As mentioned, an older neighbor kid is great for times like this. Or, an adult neighbor, paid in eggs works too.
  6. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    how much feed does the yellow thing hold? Adult hens eat about 4-6 oz of feed a day, if 4 birds empty that thing every day it seems a lot to me and either something else is feeding with them (mice/squirrels?) or there is a lot of food flipped out on the floor and you're wasting food. Place something under the feeder so that you can see what/how much is flicked out and left.

    I have 14 chicks that are 9 weeks old (a little younger so they don't quite eat 4 oz a day yet) and they go through a 7 lbs feeder in about 3 days. I also feed them oats, greens and other treats, but i'd say 95% of their food they get from the feeder.
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    Chickens will self regulate their food. They don't eat until all the food is gone, unless there isn't very much food there. The majority of people have larger feeders that have feed in them all the time.

    Three adult chickens that are heavy breeds, which are what most backyard chickens are, could go through a pound of food a day. If they were one of the lightweight breeds, 3/4 of a pound.

    That's for adult layers. Younger chickens are smaller, but pound for pound while they're growing eat more. It takes more food to put on weight than it does to maintain weight.

    If it was me, I'd look for a feeder that doesn't need to be filled every day, for when you go away. It's just one less thing a chicken sitter has to do. I usually put in an extra bowl or tub of water that can't be spilled, too. Just in case. I do like someone to pop in and see that everything is okay, but not have to do much.
  8. DazeGoneBy

    DazeGoneBy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 25, 2011
    Thanks everyone for your comments!
    Hubby says it all sounds like good advice. He'll pick up a larger feeder today. The waterer is also hung, so no chance of it tipping over.

    They are messy eaters, but not too bad. I can attest that nothing - and I mean nothing larger than a cockroach - is getting inside their run to eat with them. It is as predator-proof as we could make it (precautions we took outlined on my BYC page). So, no reason to even shut the pop door since the weather is mild right now.

    One thing we'll need to do is make sure the feeder is under cover so in case it rains the food doesn't all get wet. Otherwise, we will still ask the neighbor to peek in on them, as advised.

    Thanks again!
  9. Shayna

    Shayna I [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]

    Aug 2, 2011
    I don't have any advice to add to what's already been given, just wanted to say great job on that adorable coop and run! I love it! [​IMG]
  10. DazeGoneBy

    DazeGoneBy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 25, 2011
    Quote:Thanks very much...all kudos go to my wonderful hubby. I only decorated the joint. [​IMG]

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