The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Poultry & Waterfowl => Topic started by: Mondo on December 13, 2021, 10:11:50 pm

Title: How much feed...
Post by: Mondo on December 13, 2021, 10:11:50 pm
...can you leave with your chickens?

I have two lockdown hens (Anna and Elsa - my girls named them). My neighbour feeds them when we go for a short holiday. However to lighten his burden I was wondering if I could put 3 or 4 days of feed in for them. He'd still check feed and water daily, just to make sure everything's okay (and collect eggs), but it would be less for him to do. Is this okay?

Cheers
Barry
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: Womble on December 14, 2021, 12:03:53 am
As long as it's sheltered from the rain, as much as you like, or as much as the feeder will hold!
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: cans on December 14, 2021, 06:26:36 am
As long as the feed is in a feeder and not scattered on the ground then as Womble says as much as you like.
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: Anke on December 14, 2021, 07:11:20 am
Just be aware that rats will be able to smells easily available food for miles.... and can empty the feeders very quickly.
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: Mondo on December 14, 2021, 07:52:37 am
Thanks for the replies. I thought that would be the case. Had the chickens for around 16 months now and havenít seen any signs of rats, yet.
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: Richmond on December 14, 2021, 08:45:02 am
There is always a rat lurking somewhere whether you keep chickens or not. Rats benefit from living near humans (compost heaps, bins, shelter etc) so don't be fooled by the fact that just because you haven't seen any there aren't any. There may not be large numbers but they will be about. Even if the feeder is inaccessible the rats will still rootle through the poo looking for undigested grain or seed. They are very intelligent and will find a way of getting into a feeder even if you think it's impenetrable.

Why don't you have a word with your neighbour and just ask if feeding the hens is too much work. He may be perfectly happy to do it. If he is coming in anyway to collect eggs etc then giving them their ration shouldn't be too onerous a task.
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: Fleecewife on December 14, 2021, 01:24:43 pm
I'm with Richmond - once you get rats interested you'll never get rid of them.  If they find a food source then they will start breeding.  That's how it began for us. Perhaps you could measure out the feed you usually give your hens for each day you will be away, leaving it in separate containers inside a bin so your neighbour can just lift it and pour and you will both have peace of mind.
We soon learned that you need rat proof bins - metal - to be sure rats cannot get access.  Also make sure your hens clear it all by nightfall.  It's no guarantee against rats but it all helps.
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: Mondo on December 14, 2021, 08:26:13 pm
Thanks for the advice. I'm well aware of the problems rats can cause as they used to be in the barn when we had ponies and pony feed. I've got a a few .22 airguns to give them a dose of lead poisoning if needs be. If I do stack up the food it will only be once or twice a year but I'll see how it goes. I think I'll avoid it if I can.
Cheers
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: Alex_ on December 17, 2021, 09:42:06 am
We use a maxicup on a large food grade bucket and have a hanging drinker and a couple of large hanging feeders when we go away. Then the MIL just checks them every 2-3 days to collect eggs and make sure the ladies are happy.
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: doganjo on December 17, 2021, 10:34:59 am
We use a maxicup on a large food grade bucket and have a hanging drinker and a couple of large hanging feeders when we go away. Then the MIL just checks them every 2-3 days to collect eggs and make sure the ladies are happy.

@alex Can you explain that a bit more fully?  What's a maxicup, and do you just place it on an upturned food bucket?  Doesn't it just get knocked over?

Hanging drinkers and feeders are good but I found that the rats could jump quite a height and get into the feeder - I left a camera in my chicken shed to see what would happen.

I think the only safe way of stopping rats getting into hen food is these grandad treadle feeders
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: Richmond on December 17, 2021, 01:44:50 pm
We use a maxicup on a large food grade bucket and have a hanging drinker and a couple of large hanging feeders when we go away. Then the MIL just checks them every 2-3 days to collect eggs and make sure the ladies are happy.

I wouldn't be comfortable with my birds only being checked every 2 - 3 days, regardless of whether the feeder was vermin proof or not.

I once went away for a couple of days and left my husband "in charge". Came back and asked if everything was ok - he said sure yes all fine. Then a short while later when I did a walk round the various pens found a dead hen in one of the houses.  One rather sheepish husband .....   ::)
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: Fleecewife on December 17, 2021, 10:58:13 pm
Something usually dies on the rare occasions we have gone away - usually a hen.  It's never been the fault of the person looking after them, just bad luck and bad timing. We haven't been away since an emergency trip in 2011 when I got stuck in hospital down south, so not a frequent occurrence  :roflanim:


I agree that leaving hens for several days without checking is not good, sheep and cattle too. It's so easy for water to be tipped over and spilt and food the same, or eaten by rats. A daily check by someone who knows what they're doing is essential.
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: Mondo on December 18, 2021, 09:26:34 am
I'd agree with checking every day, preferably twice, but while I'm away happy for my neighbour to do it once.
Cheers
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: chrismahon on December 18, 2021, 10:05:39 am
For us the most important thing is to collect eggs. Ii's all too easy for them to get broken in the nest box and the next stage is an egg eating habit that is very difficult to stop. Setting aside the rat issues and the rare occasions of hens dying, it could be possible with a secure enclosure to double up on feeders and drinkers, leave the pop-hole open and leave chickens for a few days. But broken eggs would be almost certain and that could be a disaster.


To stop rats, mice and worst of all slugs getting to the feeder we put a weighted bucket over the top.
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: Alex_ on December 20, 2021, 01:20:53 pm
We use a maxicup on a large food grade bucket and have a hanging drinker and a couple of large hanging feeders when we go away. Then the MIL just checks them every 2-3 days to collect eggs and make sure the ladies are happy.

@alex Can you explain that a bit more fully?  What's a maxicup, and do you just place it on an upturned food bucket?  Doesn't it just get knocked over?

Maxicup Is for water. I have it on a 25L bucket and  the other drinker holds 6L and is the regular type. Both hang from the ceiling so they can't be knocked over. Feed hangs in normal feeders  and so far no rats or deaths.
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: doganjo on December 21, 2021, 12:13:58 pm
I still didn't know what a  maxicup was so googled it -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDHflVe_EVM

Is this what you mean?
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: Womble on December 21, 2021, 01:23:19 pm
...... or you could just make your own version (https://anoutdoorlife.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/homemade-chicken-drinke/) for free  ;) .


(https://anoutdoorlife.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/2.jpg?w=500&h=511)
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: Alex_ on December 22, 2021, 08:39:25 am
I still didn't know what a  maxicup was so googled it -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDHflVe_EVM

Is this what you mean?

Yeah, that's it.  I got mine of ebay
Title: Re: How much feed...
Post by: doganjo on December 22, 2021, 01:31:00 pm
I still didn't know what a  maxicup was so googled it -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDHflVe_EVM

Is this what you mean?

Yeah, that's it.  I got mine of ebay
I ordered one - unfortunately @Womble I'm not a maker like you. :roflanim: