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What do I feed my freerange chickens in the winter?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

My 4 girls currently eat a small amount of layer and free range most of the day.  Because of this we have wonderful deep yellow to orange yolks in their eggs.  I am afraid that during the winter if I only give them feed, their eggs will be more like store bought eggs.  I thought of this because I picked up some eggs at a local farm and the eggs were just like store bought, only with colorful shells.  I felt ripped off, silly isn't it.  hmm

Enjoying my awesome family and life....  www.oneacrelife.blogspot.com
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Enjoying my awesome family and life....  www.oneacrelife.blogspot.com
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post #2 of 14

Silly?? NO! We get spoiled when our fresh eggs!

You can add a small fall garden-- make a bed with dark green veggies, 'Cole' crops such a cabbage, spinach, kale, turnips, collards and pumpkin, winter squash will help with the healthy yolks.....If you have a garden full of zucchini, squash, tomatoes (that you aren't gonna use---freeze them now for later feeding! The chickens will appreciate them if they are served warm in the middle of winter!

2 RIR, 2 BO, 1 BR,  4 true Ameraucanas, 2 Black Copper Marans  --looking to add a few SLW, GLW and Blue Copper Marans --Oh, the Chicken Math!!!
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2 RIR, 2 BO, 1 BR,  4 true Ameraucanas, 2 Black Copper Marans  --looking to add a few SLW, GLW and Blue Copper Marans --Oh, the Chicken Math!!!
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post #3 of 14

I had a bunch of frozen shredded zucchini that I fed to my ducks last winter. I also stocked up on frozen peas whenever they were on sale. Put frozen peas in some warm water and it is instant pea soup time big_smile

That can get expensive though, so another option is to get alfalfa cubes from the feed store. Soak a few of those in some warm water and put that out for winter greens.

7 quacking ducks, 5 spazzy quail, 3 lazy cats, 2 grown sons, 1 goofy husband... and no partridge, but I have a pear tree!
My micro-farm blog - www.bluefeatherfarm.blogspot.com
Duck pond and biofilter information- http://tinyurl.com/lfgeg9
The Double-Decker Brooder Thread- http://tinyurl.com/nf8zm5
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7 quacking ducks, 5 spazzy quail, 3 lazy cats, 2 grown sons, 1 goofy husband... and no partridge, but I have a pear tree!
My micro-farm blog - www.bluefeatherfarm.blogspot.com
Duck pond and biofilter information- http://tinyurl.com/lfgeg9
The Double-Decker Brooder Thread- http://tinyurl.com/nf8zm5
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post #4 of 14

Grow pumpkin and squash next year too, my hens adore it and it lasts well into winter if stored in a cool place.  Great for yolks...

Focussing on the black Australorp.  Facebook page under Linda Pattison.

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Focussing on the black Australorp.  Facebook page under Linda Pattison.

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post #5 of 14

We keep our free-range chickens supplied with alfalfa hay in the winter. I do make them salads in the winter, too....yummy lettuce, shredded carrots, olives, boiled eggs, squash, etc.  I've bought pumpkins after Halloween clearanced for $.25c a piece and just cut them right in half, the chickens LOVE them. All that will be left is a floppy skin lol

Wife to a wonderful chicken tolerant husband, mommy to a 4 year old princess and a brand new baby girl, owner of too many dogs, one mean bunny, lots of guineas, and not enough chickens!
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Wife to a wonderful chicken tolerant husband, mommy to a 4 year old princess and a brand new baby girl, owner of too many dogs, one mean bunny, lots of guineas, and not enough chickens!
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post #6 of 14

You guys are sooo informative!! I was wondering this myself. I thought it was the bugs they ate that gave the yolks that deep color. I was trying to think of a way to feed themn crickets and worms this winter. roll Thanks soo much. now i know to keep my eye on the pumpkins this october.

"Why it's short for hiccough," Augustus said blithely. "It's a curious thing to brand on a horse, if you ask me."
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"Why it's short for hiccough," Augustus said blithely. "It's a curious thing to brand on a horse, if you ask me."
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post #7 of 14

Can they still do a little free-ranging in winter? Even if you've got snow (but not tons), they should still be able to find seeds and dig under bushes for "stuff."

6 - RIR's; 1 Newfie dog; 1 Kitty; 1 hippyman; 2 little hippies
I pledge allegiance to this land and my Mother Earth, you gotta treat yo mama with respect - John Butler
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6 - RIR's; 1 Newfie dog; 1 Kitty; 1 hippyman; 2 little hippies
I pledge allegiance to this land and my Mother Earth, you gotta treat yo mama with respect - John Butler
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post #8 of 14

You can also buy some alfalfa cubes that they have for horses/livestock and use those.  You'll have to soak them until they're soft and drain it and give it to them.  They should eat it right up and you'll have your deep yellow/orange yolks!  A 50lb bag runs around 10-12.00.

Want an easier, CLEANER poultry watering solution? http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=27917
"If we ever forget that we're one nation under GOD, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.~Ben Franklin

Married to the sweetest guy who supports my chicken habit and...

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Want an easier, CLEANER poultry watering solution? http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=27917
"If we ever forget that we're one nation under GOD, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.~Ben Franklin

Married to the sweetest guy who supports my chicken habit and...

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post #9 of 14

If you have neighbors with goats you might even get some alfalfa for free--goats are picky and waste a lot of hay. I have two goats and once a week I empty the bottom of the manger into the chicken pen. Mostly what I toss in is old stems, that they end up turning into compost for me, and piles of crushed leaves that fell off as the goats were picking through to find the best nibbles. The chickens believe the leaves are manna sent from heaven tongue

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the great ideas.  Our neighbor has an apple tree that he never sprays so there's never any good apples.  I think I'll have to pick some and store them for the winter. 

Thanks!bun

Enjoying my awesome family and life....  www.oneacrelife.blogspot.com
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Enjoying my awesome family and life....  www.oneacrelife.blogspot.com
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