Does anyone keep feed in the feeders?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering' started by dmkrieg, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. dmkrieg

    dmkrieg Member

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    I’ve been doing a lot of research tonight and realized that as soon as I think I’m doing the right thing, I read something that makes me question what I’m doing?

    I keep 25 chickens in my Barn their area is pretty large approx a 10’ x30’ area with a large hawk net covered run.

    I always thought I needed to keep food and water available at all times. I never put it up at night and have it hanging from the wire roof on their area inside the barn that I enclosed for the chickens to keep predators out. THEN...I read tonight on the internet that people portion out food or feed table scraps. I also feed crumbles and not pellets but is that even the right thing to do.

    Any help or advice anyone can provide is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. robin416

    robin416 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Chickens are foragers just like horses and cattle. 99% of the time they only eat what they need. Mine have always had free choice feed.

    The only table scraps they should get are those that are not seasoned. It doesn't take much salt to kill one of them. And they should only be a treat, not take up so much room they are not eating enough of what they need nutrition wise.

    Switching them over to pellets now will probably be difficult. Pellets are used to minimize waste since chickens can scoop crumbles so easily. But using the right feeders scooping or scratching out of the feeders is next to impossible.
     
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  3. dmkrieg

    dmkrieg Member

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    I just want to do what is right for them and as long as I don’t have rats running around I’m good with that. I have a barn cat and miniature donkeys that share a barn with the chickens, obviously they are all kept separated and my chickens are in what my family calls Fort Knox.

    But I have to just say...What would I do without you Robin416 and some of the more experienced people on here!! You guys always here to tell me like it is. And I really do feel comfort in all your advice.
     
  4. robin416

    robin416 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Your welcome. All of us want to make the whole chicken thing less stressful for the humans and even more importantly keep the birds safe and healthy.

    And if you end up with rodents get ag rodent bait with bait stations or make your own. Rodents end up being a part of keeping these guys. Which also brings in snakes that want to catch the rodents.
     
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  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Well-Known Member

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    I currently use one feeder in the main pen for my 3 Barred Rocks. I fill it every Friday to the tippy top. Like Robin said, they only eat what they need.
    I've always fed my birds crumbles, never pellets. I figure crumbles are easier to grind up in the gizzard and easier to digest in the guts.
    I sometimes give my birds plain boiled white rice mixed with buttermilk, occasionally small amounts of scratch (crack) and dried mealworms.
     
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  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Well-Known Member

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    Snakes dont discriminate between mice, rats, chicks, pullets or cockerals. Stick with the bait stations or rat traps set out at night when the chickens are sleeping.
     
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  7. dmkrieg

    dmkrieg Member

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    All of this snake, mice, and rat stuff is pretty darn nasty. Im putting traps up tomorrow. I don’t need anything nasty getting in my barn. I had one huge black snake and my husband killed it with a shovel. Snakes, rats, and heights are my worst fears!
     
  8. nannypattyrn

    nannypattyrn Well-Known Member

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    We keep our feed pans filled all the time. We switch between crumbles and pellets, whatever is on sale. We feed the egg shells back to them and mostly veggie scraps with occ meat and bones. No one seems to have a problem with it. They are not too fat and feather and eyes are shiny.
     
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  9. oldhen2345

    oldhen2345 Oldhen2345

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    I just put enough feed for my chickens to eat that day. They free range also and I give them snacks in the evening. I used to keep PVC pipe feeders in the run- they worked pretty good, until I saw rats enjoying the fare one night. I mean big rats too. so now, I feed in a planter saucer and it is empty pretty quickly. I put out rat bait in a safe area to get rid of the rodents and have not had any more problems with them - so far. Also so far no snakes in the coop or run. I have seen small garden snakes (which the hens eat like spaghetti) in the yard, but no chicken snakes - thank God.
     
  10. seminolewind

    seminolewind Scrooged Staff Member

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    I lock up or cover all the feed at night. Rats multiply fast when there's food available. Even scratch left on the ground.
     
  11. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Active Member

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    I think everyone has their own idea of what's right for them and the flock - no 'one answer' fits all. I keep the feeders inside the coops, it cuts down on rodent activity at night. I do have one large pan which I fill with minimal food for the rabbits - it is outside overnight. I'm aware that it probably attracts rodents, I know the skunk enjoys a snack too, but unless it becomes a problem it will continue.
    Water I do leave out at night since drinkers in the coop are a source of air moisture and a bad thing in winter for combs/wattles.
    So - if it works for you, keep it, change your methods as/when needed. :)
     
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  12. chickenqueen

    chickenqueen Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I keep my feeders full at all times.I also feed them table scraps,discount breads and on really cold nights,I cook something for them for a nighttime snack,the process of digestion creates body heat.I use to feed crumbles but switched to pellets because there is a lot less waste.To transition them to pellets,place some pellets in the crumbles,increasing the pellets and decreasing the crumbles over time.As for rodents,they are a year round problem.I keep poison out at all times and replace it 2-3 times a year.Plus,I started feeding the feral cats and they hunt in my yard which really helped with the wild bird problem.One is an orange tom,I named him Donald....:D
     
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  13. seminolewind

    seminolewind Scrooged Staff Member

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    I have 6 feeding bowls with rare spillage I clean up right away. They all have home depot buckets on pulleys that lower to cover the bowls at night. Not a problem there. Recently I had an increase in rats because I was putting out scratch and they weren't eating it all. Now I put a lot less scratch out. If no food is available except for bars in feed stations, they are hungry enough to eat them.
     
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  14. Angela Hamilton

    Angela Hamilton New Member

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    I have 23 broiler chickens about 8 weeks old. That is what I have left out of FFA project for my son. I was feeding them cracked corn in a feeder. A 50 pound bag only lasted a week. I noticed though the feeders were full of honey bees at lunch when I let them out to free range. So now we feed them through out the day 3 to 4 times a day and they forage. For about 5 his a day.
     
  15. chickenqueen

    chickenqueen Super Moderator Staff Member

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    They need something besides corn.I put commercial laying feed with some scratch grains in their feeder.Broilers eat a lot more than laying hens.I've got 30 chickens and one main feeder,I fill it up every 3-4 days but they free range and eat the goose feed all day long,too.Yours should be ready to butcher.Some places will butcher/process them if you take them in alive.You have to look around.If you try chickens again,get layers.They are full of personality and won't eat you out of house and home.
     
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  16. Angela Hamilton

    Angela Hamilton New Member

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    It was a part of an FFA project so we had to get broilers. OursOwere not very big so they did not make sale. So far my son just wants to keep them to get eggs. It almost seems like they may not happen if they get to big to walk in their own feet. And yes they want to eat a lot. They do get to free range in the afternoon when I get home, that brings us to another danger of chicken hawks trying to get them.
     
  17. Maryellen

    Maryellen Well-Known Member

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    Broilers cant live long unfortunately, you might not get eggs out of them.
     
  18. chickenqueen

    chickenqueen Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know but if they are active and not too heavy,I'd think they would lay and be ok.They get broiler eggs from somewhere,probably from broilers.
     
  19. seminolewind

    seminolewind Scrooged Staff Member

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    Broiler eggs-could they be hybrid- only reproduced by 2 different breeds?
     
  20. Maryellen

    Maryellen Well-Known Member

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    Oh yes CQ lol they have to lay eggs to get broiler chicks.i didnt think of that