Since we’ve had the 6 chickens, we’ve been going through roughly a feederful of pellets a day. This is in addition to all of the kitchen scraps.
Last weekend I was at the feed store buying 3 bags of pellets. The last 3 bags I bought lasted us just over 6 weeks. At $17 a 20kg bag, it wasn’t exactly cheap.
I was talking to the owner and mentioned the 6 weeks since I’d been there. He rapidly did some mental calculations and said, “You’re feeding them too much.”
“How can I feed them too much?” I asked. “They eat from a feeder so they just feed themselves.”
I thought for a sec, then said, “Of course, there’s the hundreds of doves and sparrows that hang around….”
In this old photo taken last year you can see how I’d organised the feeding. The coop is to the left, while the tarp-covered structure to the right was the original (tiny) run which was sold to us with the coop. I just pulled it away from the coop so that one side was completely open, covered it with a tarp so that their pellets would be fine during rain, then just left it in their big new run. Ease of access to the food for both my birds and the neighbourhood doves.
Now I’ve pulled the structure back together again. The hens can only access their feeder by walking through the coop. The tarp is still there for rain and so far it’s working well.
You should see the hoardes of angry doves that hang around each morning! They still get to peck at the kitchen scraps but they’re definitely Not Happy.
At the end of the first day this is what was left. (Last night there was even less eaten. Assuming the doves don’t start walking through the coop to get to the food, I’m going to save a fortune!)
Buffy wants to come out and free range. There’s ripe figs on the grass just waiting to be eaten.