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June 6, 2016
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June 20, 2016

How Much Feed Do My Chickens Need?


How do you know if your chickens are eating too much or too little?

Backyard chicken flocks have a tendency to become a little bit overweight.

This is slightly regulated in commercial flocks, but not so much in our backyard flocks.

We tend to give our backyard birds a little extra feed just because we care so much for them.

One thing to keep in mind is that a bird’s feed intake is going to vary depending on the type of bird you have.

Smaller, more compact (skinny) chickens, such as the single comb white leghorns will consume from .25 to .35 pounds per bird per day. Larger bodied birds, such as the Jersey giants, are going to eat more like .35 to .45 pounds per bird per day.

You can expect on really cold days to see a 10 or 15 percent increase in the amount of feed your birds consume. So take the time to figure out how much feed you’re putting in your feeders. If you’re feeding way too little, consider adding more feed. If you’re feeding way too much you might be able to back it down in the spring to make sure that they don’t get too big too fast.

Nancy Jefferson
Nancy Jefferson
Nancy is a poultry nutritionist with Kalmbach Feeds with a PhD in food and animal science from West Virginia University. She resides in Crown City, Ohio with her husband John, where they raise beef cattle and keep a flock of backyard chickens. Nancy enjoys watching her chickens scratching and pecking around and collecting fresh eggs to feed to her family. She is a regular contributor to the Feed Your Flocks blog, where she provides tips and information to help backyard poultry owners get the most from their flocks. Read more about Nancy