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Winter Feed-- How Much More...?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by johny, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. johny

    johny Songster

    May 22, 2010
    Do eat eat more in the winter?
    It is -15C (5F) at night.
    The coop is insulted and early morning temps inside have been as low as -4C (25F)

    In the last two weeks the amount of food disappearing has substantially increased.
    TheY look healthy. Nine hens are averaging 7 eggs daily.
    No obvious worms in their poops.
    Definitely no rodents inside, the coop/shed is well sealed.

    So maybe they are eating more just to stay warm.
    If this is common?
    Would there be harm from mixing cracked corn into their feed as a cheap source of calories?
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2010

  2. blueseal

    blueseal Songster

    Jul 3, 2008
    i roughly go thru a 50 lb bag of layer mash a week with my flock of 20 hens and a rooster. in the summer its less. plus they waste mash to.
  3. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    very common:) I went from 50 lbs of food a week to 100 lbs:-(
  4. briteday

    briteday Songster

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    I'm feeling like we're going through 30-40% more right now. We've had many single digit nights and very cloudy, cold days this year.
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Minus single digitS° C here during the afternoons [​IMG], and it has been as low as -10°F, overnight.

    One half of my little coop is fully insulated and the hens are closed in during the hours of darkness.

    What I have done is provide them with a 20% protein feed and weigh the feeder before refilling. This controls how much they get in what I think of as "healthy treats." What I want them to have daily is 1/4 pound of their commercial feed and I find it easy to just set the near-empty feeder down on the scale and see if they have been eating that.

    I think that my Australorps/Barred Rock would be going thru nearly 1/2 pound each on a daily basis of their commercial feed, if that was all they had during the coldest weeks. It is out free choice but they have more of other things these days.

    digitS° [​IMG]
  6. pontoosuc

    pontoosuc Songster

    Jun 9, 2010
    Richmond, MA
    Yes, mine are eating more and seem to be really hungry just before jumping up on their roosts.
    They have free choice all day long)

    I mix a commercial crumble with our local grain guys poultry mix (protein in both is about 17 - 18%

    At sundown they free range with me for about 15 minutes and the coop doors are open for them to
    go inside. As they go into the house I have free choice of the feed, or a bow of scratch.

    They fill up on what they want, get a drink of water then go to roost.
    (I read a thread on BYC from a poster that suggested scratch just before bedtime to increase
    body heat over night).

    But to your question: Yes, I'm going through much more!
  7. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    Yes, about 20% more than spring and summer months. For 12 birds.

  8. johny

    johny Songster

    May 22, 2010
    Thanks everyone.

    Now, if they are eating 50% more than usual, is it problem to substitute that 50% as cracked corn.

    It's low protein but if they are just burning through food for calories to stay warm, I figure a high calorie additive to their main commercial layer ration would be cheaper and still give them the baseline nutrients that they need.
  9. RIBill

    RIBill Chirping

    Nov 7, 2010
    If you are feeding a 16% layer ration, 50% cracked corn would drop the protein too low. You can probably find BOSS cheaper than feed but more than corn. I have mixed my own whole grain treat to offset their feed costs. I got a bag of sunflower chips from Walmart, added pumpkin seeds from Halloween, peas from the store, flax and cracked corn from a discount store and a bag of nyjer seed from someplace else. One scoop of that in the morning gets them active and scratching around but they are still in fine laying form. I am still working through the feed I got a month ago.

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