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Keeping a healthy chicken flock comes down to how you take care of them. One of the most important aspects of caring for your chickens is their diet. Depending on the type of diet chickens might eat more or less food, but do chickens overeat?
A chicken cannot overeat if it is eating a natural, balanced diet. If a chicken is given access to unnatural treats, it may overindulge. It is important to provide chickens with a healthy diet that meets their nutritional needs. A balanced diet will ensure that they stay healthy and don’t overeat.
To make sure your chickens do not overeat you need to feed them the right food in the right amounts. Overeating can have a variety of negative health implications so it should always be avoided. To find out if do chickens overeat and what you as a chicken keeper can do about it, keep reading.
It is possible to overfeed chickens and if it is not the most natural food it will lead to them overeating. There are different feeds that you can feed to your chickens and overfeeding with the different feeds will all have their own consequences. Some people go for the conventional chicken feed which normally comes in pallet form while others go for scraps from the kitchen.
The conventional chicken feed consists of several ingredients that have been mashed and crumbled and it gives the chickens a balanced meal. These chicken feeds are more natural to the scavenger diet that chickens have so they will not likely overeat on this. You can still overfeed with it but it will be left behind by the chickens and will result in rats and other rodents being attracted.
Kitchen scraps on the other hand have a much worse effect when you overfeed it to your flock. With scraps, chickens are not as good at knowing when enough is enough. They like the extra fats, calories and carbohydrates. They will keep eating scraps until they have completely overate themselves. It is therefore very important that you not overfeed your chickens when using kitchen scraps.
Even when the chickens are not overeating on the scraps they will start rotting and it will attract a variety of different health issues into the coop.
In the most natural setting chickens will eat all day. They will keep scratching and scavenging until the day is over. They can do this all day because what they actually have to eat is very spread out over the land and they have to work for every bite.
In the chicken coop where food is provided for them, they do not have to eat all day. The food is so readily available that they don’t have to do anything to earn it, it is just there for them. In this scenario, chickens should only eat when they are being fed and the rest of the day they should walk around exploring and scavenging for more snacks.
You ,ight be interested in an article i wrote on how many times a day to feed chickens, i run through, how oftern to feed them and what they should eat.
Chickens should eat about half a cup of pellets per day. This amount of chicken feed will provide them with all the required nutrients and minerals. The amount will also depend on the age and size of the chicken. And their diet should also be balanced in proteins, carbs, and fats.
Half a cup of chicken pellets is relatively what they require per day, but this can also be accompanied by free-range scavenging and also with treats like food scraps. Food scraps can be dangerous though because it is extra high in fats and overfeeding can lead to serious health issues and even death. The type of food scraps also make a difference, it should be non-fatty and balanced food like fruit, vegetables and greens.
The age of the chicken will also impact the amount that they need to eat per day. A small chick that is under 6 weeks will need about 1kg of food per week, a growing hen that is between 6 and 20 weeks will eat about 5 or 6 kg per week and a fully grown hen that is laying eggs will eat about 10kg per week.
Should chickens have access to food all the time or should you feed them only at specific times? This question also depends on what you feed them. When you are feeding them scraps from the kitchen that includes bread, fruits, vegetables, porridges and greens, you should feed them once a day and they should not have access to it all the time.
In normal pallet feeders (Amazon link), chickens will have access to food all the time and they will regulate their own eating habits.
These feeders work with gravity and you just fill up the top and as they eat more food becomes available.
The best strategy that we have found is to feed the chickens food scraps mixed with pallet feed so that they can work their way through it and then after that let them roam free to scavenge the land for whatever else they still want to eat.
In general, chickens will not eat themselves to death. They will know when enough is enough and they will stop eating before they eat themselves to death. The type of food will make a difference, as mentioned above.
With normal chicken feed, it is okay that they have permanent access to the feed because they will self-regulate. With scraps and treats, they should be fed sparingly, but even with that the chickens will not eat themselves to death, but they can overeat and this will have other health issues.
There are however certain chicken breeds that have been known to eat themselves to death. Broilers have also been reported to have eaten themselves to death in the past. It is best to know your chicken breeds and to know exactly what they need.
You may also be interested in how long can chickens go without food. Click the link to learn more.
We looked at, do chickens overeat? Chickens do not overeat as long as they are given a healthy and balanced diet. Chickens that overeat may experience health problems such as obesity, liver disease, and heart disease. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your chickens are getting the right amount of food and not overfeeding them.