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Chickens need daily feedings so that they remain strong enough for laying eggs or meat production if you’re raising them as livestock (or pets). There isn’t one right answer to this question since every chicken keeper has different goals. How many times a day should I feed my chickens for healthy growth and egg production?
Twice a day feedings will increase the number of eggs laid each day with larger-sized egg sizes! If you’re only looking to feed chickens for a few eggs, once-daily feedings will do.
In this article, we will discuss feed and water requirements for hens so that you can make sure your chickens have the best feed possible. Additionally, we will discuss the best options for your chickens’ diet and how much they should be eating.
How Many Times a Day Should I Feed My Chickens
People ask a lot, how many times a day should i feed my chickens, its a really common question and I always say; twice per day feedings increase egg production while maintaining larger-sized eggs if that’s what you’re after. Once per day feedings may be enough if only looking for an egg or two.
Chickens need feed daily, but they also require fresh, clean water daily as well! Make sure to check your chicken’s waterers regularly because dirty or frozen water is no good at all for chickens.
If you are worried about feeding your chickens, perhaps you are going on vacation and want to know how long can chickens go without food then check out that article.
How Much Food Do Chickens Need a Day
Just how much food do chickens need a day? A good rule is about 3.5 oz a day which is about 1/2 cup of feed per chicken per day. Chicken feed is made of grains like corn, soybean, and wheat. Chickens also require vitamins and minerals that may not be found in their feed, so it is essential to supplement with commercial feed, treats, or other additives.
A chicken’s feed intake varies depending on what they are being used for. If you want eggs from your hens, then about two to three ounces of food per bird every day should do the trick!
However, if you’re raising chickens for meat production or egg-laying purposes, their caloric needs increase, and roughly five to six ounces per animal are required daily.
When it comes to needing water, a small amount of fresh drinking water can be provided at all times via one medium-sized waterer (or more). Automatic waterers are a great alternative for small coops.
For their first eight weeks, baby chicks eat approximately 3/4 lbs of feed a week and drink three times as much. This changes in the future as they age and their production or egg-laying purposes increase.
Many important factors affect how much your flock will drink, such as weather conditions like extreme heat or cold, but when in doubt, err on giving them an extra supply than not enough.
A good feed for chicks is the Organic Starter Crumble Complete Feed (Amazon link) which is a high protein, non-GMO approved feed for growing chicks.
I also talked about how much chicks should eat in my how much to feed chickens article, might be worth checking out.
How Many Cups of Feed Per Chicken
Chicken feed should be roughly 1/2 of a cup per chicken per day. An adult chicken will eat about 1.75 pounds of feed a week, equal to 3.5-4 ounces daily (about 1/4 pound).
When deciding what type of feeder works best for your poultry, there are many factors to consider. For example, a feeder which is easy for the birds to access will be well used, and there should be enough room in it that your flock won’t fight over food (which can lead to injury or even death).
Additionally, you need one large enough, so all chickens have an equal opportunity to nourish without too much competition within their own ranks; otherwise, they will fight over the “best” food, and those who get the least will suffer.
On a small, homesteading or backyard farm with only poultry for meat (and eggs), you may want to consider using an open feeder, which is simply a dish placed on the ground where chickens can eat when they are hungry. If rats and other rodents are a concern, then using a feeder that only your chicken can access would be a good solution. Rats, mice, and birds are a pest when it comes to chicken feed so using an automatic chicken feeder (Amazon link) would help this issue a lot
This type of feeding works well if your flock does not have free-range access because it reduces competition between birds. You also won’t spend as much time filling up feeders scattered around your property every day; instead, refill once per week!
If you’re raising many chickens in one location, whether it’s commercially or in backyards across three houses on five acres, then you should look into automatic systems. Automatic waterers are readily available in the market, both for small and large flocks.
While automatic feeders have more complicated needs because of weight-sensitive feeding capacity, you can also get waterers and feeders that work on gravity rather than weight such as this inexpensive automatic chicken cup waterer and port feeder (Amazon link).
This system has two main advantages over the open feeder: it’s less labor-intensive, and it provides a more even distribution of food which is better for preventing worms, pecking order issues, etc.
How Much Food Should a Laying Hen Eat Per Day
An average laying hen will consume about ¼ pound of feed per day, depending on factors such as the bird’s size and productivity level. Laying hens eat this much because their bodies require a lot of calcium to produce eggs.
A feed that’s suitable for laying hens is the Kaytee Laying Hen Diet (Amazon link). It’s rich in protein, Omega-3, Calcium, and other nutrients and vitamins making it a great feed for laying hens.
What Can I Feed My Chickens
In general, chickens need a balanced mixture of protein from insects or worms combined with carbohydrates such as grass clippings or fruit peelings mixed with calcium sourced from eggshells and oyster shells for laying hens – although this shouldn’t form the bulk of their diet.
A simple way to know if you have a healthy or safe amount of any food source is the “smell test.” If it smells bad, don’t feed it to your chickens, and always avoid feeding anything that has gone moldy as this can be harmful – especially for younger chickens who are more susceptible than older hens. In these cases, a commercial feed would be your best bet.
One feed treat I like to recommend is this organic 7-Grain Ultimate Chicken Scratch (Amazon link) It’s a mixture of Corn, Wheat, Milo, Barley, Oats, Sunflower Seeds, and Millet which is all great for chickens health.
Many people wonder what they should do with eggshells after their fresh eggs have been cracked into a bowl. Depending on the hen’s age, she might need at least half her weight in shells per week, requiring collecting about four dozen of them each week from those three houses.
The best diet for chickens is one that provides them with a variety of different foods. Any feed store should be able to help you find the right mix, but here are some examples:
- Layer pellets (Amazon link) – these usually contain 18% protein and provide good eggshells as well.
- Scratch grains (Amazon link)- this mixture has about 13% protein, contains cracked corn, and helps keep your birds happy because they have to work harder to find it.
For chickens, calcium is the foundation of their eggshells which means they need to have plenty available in their diets. If enough shells are not provided for them, your flock will be unable to accommodate all those fresh eggs, and you’ll find yourself with thin-shelled or no eggs at all!
When buying oyster shells from a farm store, you must read the label first since some contain added ingredients such as anti-caking agents. These types don’t provide any extra benefit so they can cause problems instead.
We looked at the common question, how many times a day should I feed my chickens? When deciding how often to feed your chickens, the answer is different for every chicken keeper. Think about what you want out of them, and then determine what frequency will work best based on that information. The best choice for egg production will be twice-daily feedings with larger eggs, while once-daily feedings are perfect if you’re only looking for a few eggs at a time.
If you have any additional questions or concerns about feeding your flock, don’t hesitate to contact us! We can help get your chickens eating well so they’ll lay more eggs and produce higher quality meat when it’s their time in the spotlight.