Cold days feeding...?

Nao57

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So I wanted to ask how much extra feed do you do (percentage wise) to your herds, flocks whatever on really cold days?

Winter just started here. I want to go into it right with no losses over the winter except butcher losses that are planned. So I'd like to pick your mind on this.

In particular I'm asking about ducks and rabbits, but actually I'm interested in what you do for other animals also even, such as sheep and so on.

I also wish you all good progress and safety for your herds over the winter.

One of the things that prompted this...I noticed my ducks 'barking' for feeding time earlier than normal on cold days. And as the cold increased they'd 'bark' for lunch more and more early slightly ahead of schedule, but still close to the regular feeding time. So this makes me think their bodies are burning the food a bit faster. (Barking for lunch 30 minutes earlier than normal turned into 45 minutes earlier than normal; but still within reasonable closeness to their normal eating times.)
 

Beekissed

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As with any other season, watch body conditioning for all animals and watch feed consumption. I feed everything once a day and you pretty much notice when they clean it up too quickly or too thoroughly....then you feed a little beyond that. I like to see a little residue left behind but not too much, which attracts rodents.

It's like knowing how much to feed your kids at any given time...feed too much, they waste it, feed too little and they clean their plates and ask for seconds.

Don't know that I know percentages of just how much, but it's more just minor adjustments in scoops/flakes/etc.
 

Nao57

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As with any other season, watch body conditioning for all animals and watch feed consumption. I feed everything once a day and you pretty much notice when they clean it up too quickly or too thoroughly....then you feed a little beyond that. I like to see a little residue left behind but not too much, which attracts rodents.

It's like knowing how much to feed your kids at any given time...feed too much, they waste it, feed too little and they clean their plates and ask for seconds.

Don't know that I know percentages of just how much, but it's more just minor adjustments in scoops/flakes/etc.
thank you very much.
 

chickens really

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With my Ducks I fed twice a day and this was just to top up the feed bowls and add fresh water. I never increased anything. When it's cold Ducks hunker down deep into bedding and don't burn too many calories. I don't change much as far a quantity of feed inthe winter. I add straw as bedding during winter. I ran heat for my Birds although I do live in a pretty cold place.
For my horses nothing changes except during a real cold snap we provide alfalfa hay to the Timothy for extra feed.
All animals need is safe shelter with clean warm bedding and a place to get out of the elements.
 

Nao57

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With my Ducks I fed twice a day and this was just to top up the feed bowls and add fresh water. I never increased anything. When it's cold Ducks hunker down deep into bedding and don't burn too many calories. I don't change much as far a quantity of feed inthe winter. I add straw as bedding during winter. I ran heat for my Birds although I do live in a pretty cold place.
For my horses nothing changes except during a real cold snap we provide alfalfa hay to the Timothy for extra feed.
All animals need is safe shelter with clean warm bedding and a place to get out of the elements.
Is it hard to change the number of times a day you feed them? I've been feeding 3 times a day instead of 2 by taking the total amount per day they need and dividing it by 3. But I wonder if they will cause a noise and ruckus if I try to change to 2 times a day? (They do make noise non-stop if I'm late for feedings. So I wonder if it would be a mess to change.)

It seems like there's advantages to both 2/day and 3 times a day feedings.

Is it really bad if you don't have some kind of insulator in the next areas also?

Thanks a bunch.
 

chickens really

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Is it hard to change the number of times a day you feed them? I've been feeding 3 times a day instead of 2 by taking the total amount per day they need and dividing it by 3. But I wonder if they will cause a noise and ruckus if I try to change to 2 times a day? (They do make noise non-stop if I'm late for feedings. So I wonder if it would be a mess to change.)

It seems like there's advantages to both 2/day and 3 times a day feedings.

Is it really bad if you don't have some kind of insulator in the next areas also?

Thanks a bunch.
Basically my Birds had free choice feed at all times. I topped the feed twice a day. Definitely straw in cold climates because it's hollow and hold in body heat. Hay is feed, straw is bedding. I watered the birds two or 3 times a day in the winter with warm water. I got rid of the Ducks because they are lots of work in the winter and spring time they stink terribly.
 

animalmom

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I feed more hay when it gets cold. I do up the amount on everyone's pellets (rabbits and goats) but only a pinch for the rabbits and maybe a half scoop for all the goats. Rabbits will eat all you put in front of them and then turn around and tell you they are starving. Keep their hay rack/container filled and they will be fine with their standard amount. My rabbits get 1/2 cup once a day and a piece of fruit, or a tablespoon of BOSS for breakfast. Keep water before them at all times. If their water freezes up they won't eat.

I feed the ducks once a day. They have 2 feeders that are topped off in the morning and they rarely empty one, the second has never been emptied. They don't get additional feed. I do put hay in the shelters but they don't seem to use the shelters for anything except laying eggs and having secret conversations.

As @Beekissed said body condition is everything. Run your hand down the rabbit's spine if it feels boney and more pellets, if it feels nicely fleshed over the hips they you are good to go.
 

messybun

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I notice that my ducks eat and sleep extra for a good few days to bulk up fat right before it gets cold. I’m personally a free feed fanatic. I think animals know what they need in general and I tend to have healthy ones. Because I have goats that are obsessed with the bird grain my chickens and ducks get as much as they will eat in the night with a bit leftover in the morning and then they are free ranged all day. The goats get bread in the summer and sweet feed at worming time. But in the winter they get hay, straw if we can find it, and corn. For the corn I plan on getting troughs this year but usually it just gets poured in a long line and/or multiple small bowls. Because my goats have been fed this way since they were young we’ve been blessed to never have bloat. They eat what they want and the rest of the birds eat the rest. As for rabbits I’ve given mine as many rabbit pellets as they want. After the initial gorge themselves because they aren’t used to being allowed to they almost always self regulate. The only ones I haven’t seen self regulate are the ones who have always been put on a “diet” lol it’s like they are making up for lost time.
 

Beekissed

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you must not have many rats or mice where you live? I can't imagine the cost of leaving feed out 24/7 for all animals, let alone how many wild birds and rodents it would attract.
 

messybun

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you must not have many rats or mice where you live? I can't imagine the cost of leaving feed out 24/7 for all animals, let alone how many wild birds and rodents it would attract.
I’ve heard of rats, but never had any. As far as mice, I have corn fields across the street and animals behind me so they are plentiful. That being said, not too much of a problem. The wild birds only come at migrating time, right now lol. But they don’t tend to take too much. They have unharnessed and freshly cut corn fields anyway. As far as mice, my chickens eat them I have some BIG boys. The chickens usually eat all but a few crumbs of food by the morning. But because of goats they don’t get any in the day when they are hunting and out of the coop anyway. The ducks are spoiled pets, and since I got my drake a mouse wouldn’t dare go near their food lest he become it and I usually have leftovers in the mornings for chickens to clean up. When I had outdoor rabbits they were off the ground and I never had problem with rodents. For the first few months when they were on the ground with a hutch and run my buck was, ahem, “protective” over his food and I never found evidence of anything bothering them. They also didn’t eat much because they had grass. So, unless a mouse manages to get in the feed before it’s out, not enough losses to consider. Besides, my chickens eat the few mice that dare try to hide in the goats shelters and what not.
 
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