Feeding Chickens in the winter

Discussion in 'Chickens & Poultry' started by Kass, Nov 29, 2020.

  1. Kass

    Kass Well-Known Member

    380
    Apr 26, 2020
    Lisbon Falls ME
    So through the summer I feed my chickens a few cups of layer pellets twice a day, and during the day they are let out to roam our 20 acres and forage.
    We have 4 adult hens, a rooster, and 10 chicks that are just getting old enough to start laying eggs. A few have started.
    This is the first year we are putting a lamp in their coop, to help them keep laying, from 6:30am ish to 9:00pm ish. But they are still let out during the day and put back in around 4. Will the lamp still help if they are not in there all day?
    We are getting into winter and I want to make sure the girls have enough fuel to keep laying through the winter with little to no forage, which was the bulk of their diet through the summer. I've been giving them a 16 oz coffee can of 2 parts blue seal layer pellets, 1 part cracked corn twice a day. Is this too much? Not enough? Do you recommend something else? A mix that you use for winter feeding?
    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
  2. MadHouse

    MadHouse Well-Known Member

    I am not sure what you mean by that question.
    I have additional light in my barn that comes on with a timer, to extend the day. I do believe it helps, as my layers continue laying.
    I am currently looking at getting full spectrum bulbs, to see if that helps even more.
    As for feeding, I go by how much they eat. Chickens will stop eating when their caloric requirements are fulfilled (as far as regular feed is concerned). If I give too much, it is wasted. Cracked corn, I have read, is a good supplement in winter to help with energy (I give wheat for that), not sure if that is too much corn or not.
    Are any of your older chickens going through molt? If they are, they could use extra protein, like mealworms, boiled egg, fish or tofu.
     

  3. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    In winter my chickens get cabbage, pumpkin and shredded beetroot as well as a weekly helping of meelworms. They get cracked corn 3 times a day.
    In summer they are free range and dont get cracked corn at all.
     
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  4. Kass

    Kass Well-Known Member

    380
    Apr 26, 2020
    Lisbon Falls ME
    A couple of the older birds are molting.
    I'm planning to find a very high protein feed and mix it with the corn. Thank you for the ideas and advice.
     
    MadHouse likes this.
  5. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Yes. The light will help. Chickens need at least 14 hours of light. So the light in the coop keeps the light going for them.
     
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  6. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    The hardest part of winter is the freezing waterers. I use an small electric bucket. So much easier than the traditional waterers. Set it on a low platform, and I had a light chain through the bail (bucket handle what do you call it) to the ceiling of the coup. It helped the bucket from overturning. They drink alot of water in the winter.
     
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  7. alwaystj9

    alwaystj9 Well-Known Member

    163
    Apr 10, 2019
    Zachary, Louisiana
    I seem to be feeding chickens to the redtail hawks this season...:(
     
  8. MadHouse

    MadHouse Well-Known Member

    Oh no! :hug:
    I “fed” one to a hawk last year, and he picked the one that wasn’t laying anymore, but still...:(
     
  9. MellonFriend

    MellonFriend Well-Known Member

    We have problems with hawks at out place, so we put up a bunch of tarps in their run not even to cover the whole thing, and that seems to have helped. Hawks seem to come around our place especially when it's windy, and all those crazy flapping tarps don't look very inviting to a hawk. Lots of hiding places for the chickens to take cover in and a rooster that sounds the alarm for anything that flies over are helpful to. We have also decided to breed our chickens for camouflaging color so that would be something to consider in the future.
     
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  10. Tanya

    Tanya Well-Known Member

    We have black eagles here. My little Seabrite takes all 6 hens into the goat shelter when the breeding pair is seen.
    Even when the owls are training their owlets late in the afternoon the chickens dissapear.
     
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  11. alwaystj9

    alwaystj9 Well-Known Member

    163
    Apr 10, 2019
    Zachary, Louisiana
    As people buy up land around here, the first thing they seem to do is clear all of it. The natural hawk food animals (rabbits, mice, etc. even smaller birds) have no cover so they move out. Warmer winters the last 5 years has the hawks over wintering here instead of going further south. I am at the intersection of 3 different hawk's territories, as near as I can tell. The last 3 years they left in mid-March for wherever hawks do summer vacation...My chickens are mostly adept at getting under cover -- I have safe places for them and confine them somewhat this time of year. But there are always one or 2 that have even smaller chicken brains than the rest...I actually was able to sell one dumdum before she became hawk-lunch this year but she has a few no-brain cousins in the coop that have been determined to self-sacrifice. I actually added extras this year because I kind of figured this would happen. It sounds cold hearted but my chickens are farm animals, not pets. I have 2 fairly effective roosters and they help. Due to my tree cover, overhead netting is only somewhat effective.
    The camouflage color is interesting: I had an owl problem about 10 years ago and it got all my white chickens, probably because they almost glow in the dark! The white leghorns I have now are usually the first to notice the hawks and haul butt for cover...that breed is leaner and more nervous than the others. I raise about 20-30 every year: buy some, hatch some, let a broody hen or 2 set. This year was odd as the quarantine had people buying up chicks as fast as the stores would get them in. I was picking up 2-3 chickies at different places each week and got quite a mix. I don't even know what breed my big rooster is. I've never seen another chicken like him.
     
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