How often and how much to feed chickens is one of the first questions new backyard flock owners ask. It’s not complicated though, here’s everything you need to know about feeding chooks.
How many times a day should I feed my chickens? Chickens should have feed available all day. There are some recommended amounts based on the size, activity, and needs of chickens to follow, however. You should top up their feeders twice a day.
How Much to Feed Chickens per Day?
As I said above, the amount a chicken will eat will vary depending on some factors such as age, size, if they’re laying, (if they’re greedy), and so on.
As a rule of thumb, however, the average amount of feed a chicken will eat in a day is around 120 grams.
They will also eat some grit, possibly some scraps if you throw some in, and if they’re free-range they’ll find some bugs I’m sure.
Free-range chickens are a lot less likely to overeat. Chicken, in general, tend to be pretty good about knowing how much they want to eat, which is why most owners leave food out around the clock.
The only real issues with making feed available at all times are the risk that it may spoil or attract pests and rodents.
I suggest starting out with around 120 grams per chicken, per day. Put out half in the morning and see how much is left by the evening. Top it up with the rest in the evening and see how much is left when it’s time for them to turn in for the night.
If a lot is being left in between top-ups, you know you can reduce the amount of feed you’re putting out.
How Many Cups of Feed per Chicken?
If you measure your feed in U.S. cups measurements, it can get a little confusing as to how much 1 cup of feed weighs.
I’ve never liked using cups while baking, personally. I use grams as I find that easier to use, and cups are better for measuring liquids anyway.
Anyway, if you’re using a cup to scoop out your feed I’d say go with 1 cup per chicken. 1 cup of fine powder usually weighs around 100 grams, while something with the consistency of feed is nearer to 120-140 grams.
Just follow the advice I outlined above about topping up their feeders twice a day and seeing how much feed is left. You’ll soon enough know if you should be adding or removing the amount.
Can You Overfeed Chickens?
Generally speaking, you can’t overfeed backyard chickens on layer feed.
Most owners keep feed available around the clock. In fact, the feeding guidelines on chicken feed often recommend feeding chickens “ad-lib”. This means leaving enough out for them to eat in small amounts throughout the day.
You can, however, overfeed chickens treats, table scraps, and scratch corns. These are all treat foods you can give your chickens to enhance their overall diet and give them some variation.
As a rule of thumb, 90% of your chicken’s diet should come from their formulated feed. Especially if your hens are laying as they need additional protein and calcium.
Can You Feed Chickens Once a Day?
Yes, you can feed chickens once a day. As long as you’re putting out enough feed for them to graze on all day, it shouldn’t be a problem.
The only concern when putting feed out once a day is that it won’t spoil or attract rodents, pests, and other creatures that will also feed on it.
What Should Chickens Eat?
The bulk of a chicken’s diet should come from a quality feed.
The good news is that quality feeds are readily available and not very expensive.
Here are a couple I recommend;
Purina Layena Layer Feed
If your chickens are laying, this layer feed will provide all the nutrition they need to produce large, strong eggs.
They even say that hens laying eggs fed this feed will produce eggs higher in omega-3 fatty acids and have a brighter colored yolk!
Kalmbach Henhouse Reserve Complete Layer Feed
This is another feed with a good proprietary blend of prebiotics, probiotics, essential oils, and enzymes to help keep your flock happy and healthy.
It’s hard to meet all these nutritional requirements without using a formulated feed. This is why feeding your flock a feed is by far the easiest way to make sure they’re getting all the nutrients they need.
When feeding your chickens fruits, vegetables, and other scraps it’s important you’re aware of what chickens can’t eat.
I’ve covered some of the toxic and bad foods in posts about other foods chooks can eat. I recommend reading through a few of these in the blog.
In Summary - How Many Times a Day Should I Feed My Chickens?
There’s no set rule for how many times you should feed your chickens, as long as they have plenty of feed out to eat throughout the day.
Most owners put out feed twice a day. Once in the morning, and once in the evening. So, if that works for you that will be just fine.
The most important thing is to make sure your flock has enough feed available when they want it. Without it spoiling or being stolen.
US Cups to grams - Errenskitchen.com
Image credits - Photo by chatnarin pramnapan on Unsplash