Feeding times for poultry?

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by sun burn, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    If you have ducks or chickens can you answer this question. I'm wondering if what i am doing is the right thing?

    Please say if your birds are free ranging or mention what you do if you have them in some sort of alternative situation. This question does not apply to those who do not free range their birds at all so please don't answer if that's the case at your place.

    What time/s of day do you feed your poultry? (please be more specific than morning or afternoon as that is not very helpful)
    Do you vary the hour much or are you pretty regimented?

    Do you think that ducks would forage more if fed only once a day in the late afternoon? I was doing my afternoon feed between 3 and 4 but now i've put it back to around 5pm hoping that they will eat more grass and stuff before their official dinner time.
     
  2. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    I don't have chooks and ducks here in town, but I 'borrow' my mum's when I visit...
    She feeds out mash/scraps/layer pellets in the morning between 8 and 9ish and grain (preferably sprouted) in the afternoon between 4:30 and 6 ish.
    Mum's got Muscovies, which shouldn't really need to be fed at all since they're grazers, but she's a bit of a soft touch, as well as liking them friendly, in a "me want food!" kind of way!
    I imagine chooks and ducks are often over-fed, reducing how much they'll seriously forage.
    It make sense on the surface to feed at night, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's better to feed smaller quantities, more often, or you could have laying issues, and since they tend to go to bed pretty early, could lots of that energy be wasted?
    Mum has an enormous flock of chooks, many of which are well and truly 'retired', so she's feeding lots of unproductive birds, which would have a major impact on the food bill. Like I said, soft touch.
    I'm interested to read what others do too.
    I think to run poultry efficiently, it really helps if you're, shall we say, pragmatic about your animals.
     
  3. permup

    permup Junior Member

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    Hi,

    My chickens and ducks get the kitchen scraps at about 8 or 9am and they have a hopper that is full of pellets and they can feed on demand all day. They prefer to forrage for their own food, and do so all day, but I notice them gathering toward the afternoon for their evening repast. I admit that the hopper, while it hangs from the roof of the chook shed, does enable the rats a good feed too. I've seen a great hopper advertised that allows the chook to stand on something to open the lid and feed itself, stopping rodents from getting the food. I would have bought one but it cost $270 or something unpallatable. I think I prefer my rats.
     
  4. geoff

    geoff Junior Member

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    Our chooks are fed the kitchen scraps in the morning, and let out to forage at the same time. They do have a grain/pellet mix permanently available, but they still do a bit of foraging through the day. I'm sure they would forage more if they were fed less.

    Our ducks get a feed in the evening, about 1/2 hour after sunset/just before full dark. They can't get up to the chook food, so they forage all day, and the only way we can get them back into their pen is with the incentive of food. It's done at that time to make sure all the chooks are asleep so they don't come and get themselves into the duck house trying to see if the ducks are getting something better than they are, which scares the ducks out which makes life that little bit less joyful trying to get everyone sorted into their proper places. They ducks tend to make a ruckus as well, if they're put in their house too early because they seem to like foraging in the early evening.
     
  5. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    For our chooks in the domes we generally give a small handful of additional grain per bird at around 8am. Then another small handful per bird around 7pm. The rest they scratch up for themselves. They seem happy to keep laying on that much as long as I keep the water up to them. For any other chooks in sheds or ranging I have a Grandpa feeder - the sort of contraption Paula is talking about (but I don't remember paying that much! I must have been rich back then).

    What is your main concern Sunburn?
     
  6. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Thanks everyone for those lovely evocative replies. So it seems twice a day is normal after all. Good good.

    Geoff, yes i've noticed the ducks like to stay out longer but if i don't come and shoo them in then, they will go in by themselves just like the chooks do. I think they all feel more secure in a pen. The chooks have to go in earlier because they can't see so well as the light fades.

    pippi you remind me that i think the reason why we feed the muscovies is that we won't get many eggs at all off them if they are left to forage only. I am pretty sure this is the reason we are encouraged to do it. Also i was reading the other day, they are naturally fish eaters and most of us probably don't have fish in our ponds for them to eat so we have to make up for that somehow. I do it with boiled eggs. Not that I knew i was replacing the fish food.

    As much as I adore the ducklings, I think, as I hate the killing business, i will just have to forgo having them, unless or until i can get over that. My current two are just about past their most adorable stage.
     
  7. Mudman

    Mudman Junior Member

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    I feed the chooks at 6.30 in the morning everyday both seed about half a cup each and scraps. They get let out in their bush run at the same time.
    They spend the day scratching up the seed in their straw yard.
    Gave up on the food hopper as they just empty it instantly.
    In the afternon we let them run through the orchard and gardens for few hours to get some greens.
    Had no problems in 10 years.
    Cheers
    Kurt
     
  8. Pink Angel

    Pink Angel Junior Member

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    My chooks free range in a small backyard. There is no regimented feeding time in this household.
    They put themselves to bed each night and if someone remembers to shut the door they are locked in until we open the door when we wake up. If not, they then come out whatever time they like. Being in the inner city area, we do not have any predators around, so they are pretty much safe to do as they please.

    I come out mid morning with some scraps and then again after dinner with the leftovers. They get a handful of grain if there are a lot of scraps, if not, two handfuls. There are three chooks, one of which is laying, the other two are POL. We are pretty relaxed with our attitude and so are the chooks.

    Oh and I put about 10mls of pure apple cider in their water all the time to keep away instestinal worms. ;)
     
  9. Imarni

    Imarni Junior Member

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    I feed the chooks at around 8.30 am and then again at about 4.00 pm, they do free range and at the moment are clearing out the vegie garden for me.
     

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