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Are the new hens eating enough?

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Our four new and only hens are eating a lot less than I was expecting. We have a hopper of layer pellets available to them in the run all day and the all seem to be eating from it, but I was expecting them to eat around 125g per hen per day. That's more than a pound in weight per day all four chickens, and I think they are eating less than half that.


The hopper is filled before we let them in the run and they do eat from this as soon as we let them in the run. We ten go have breakfast ourselves, but they seem to all stop eating from the hopper quite quickly and half an hour later they're ignoring the pellets and pecking around in the run. We them let them out in to the garden for half an hour before we have to go to work.


We also let them evening but because the sun set so soon after we get home they only get about half an hour. When out they scratch round pecking and presumably eating things they find in the garden boarders. I've seen them take worms at least twice, and they found the spillage from the wild bird feeder - which they did rather like.


Being out all day makes it difficult to assess whether one two hens are getting all the food, or if anyone is not eating, but when we've been watching they all seem to get a fair share.


Is this all normal or should we be worried, or be doing something else? Could it be they just don't like the layer pellets?

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My silkie girls never used to eat an awful lot of pellets at all, admittedly they were FR for most of the day so probably managed to forage plenty but when they were confined to their run I'd mix a handful of corn in with their pellets and that encouraged them to gobble.


Were they on layers pellets when you bought them? It could be that they've been brought up on mash and aren't overly keen.


Sorry I'm not an awful lot of help, this is just my (limited) experience and I'm sure a fountain of knowledge wiwll be along to helpp you shortly!



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Mum, we've only had them a week tomorrow, so it is quite likely they are still settling in.


Egluntyne, no they're not in lay yet. We understand them to be about 16 to 18 weeks old, so was not expecting eggs for a little while yet. So, maybe they're just eating normally. Do you think we shouldn't be giving them layer pellets?


heth1986, we especially asked when we bought them what they were being fed on as I wanted to keep that constant. I'm now wondering if the manager we were speaking to actually knew :liar: . Wish now we had asked the lad who was looking after them. I like the idea of mixing the pellets with the corn. The way they liked the wild bird feed I could try a little of that too.


We'll be able to watch them more this coming weekend. Last weekend we were still trying to workout what we were doing and settling in to a routine (us and the hens). This is all so new to use we don't know yet what is normal :think::oops:

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I found my girls weren't overly fussed with pellets but now that they are on mash, they eat little and often throughout the day, as they can't fill up on it in one go (it would be like us eating lots of cream crackers at one sitting without a drink! :lol: ) and this means they don't get involved in any silliness :wink: i.e. naughty behaviour because they're bored :)

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If they are only 16 weeks they might be a little young for layers pellets. The 'point of lay' stage is very difficult to pinpont. I keep my youngsters on growers pellets now, until they actually start laying, as they don't need the extra calcium.


All a matter of personal preference though.

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