20 chickens= 1 pint food/day?(rambling)

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Zenbirder, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. Zenbirder

    Zenbirder Songster

    May 3, 2007
    New Mexico
    My girls (and Henry) are now about three months old and free ranging all day. I am really wondering what all they are eating? I refill their "store bought" chick grow once a day with a pint container, it rarely takes more than one scoop! Every time I look it seems someone is chasing someone else who has a bug in their beak. I bet they cover several miles a day just roaming around. They are going a bit farther every day, but still lounge close to the pen. The favored spot is under a huge old oak who's branches touch the ground making a natural umbrella. Thank goodness, the hawks would never know they are there. Yesterday they found one of the wild bird feeding areas where we throw scratch, so there is no keeping them out of it now. We consider ourselves to be a private wildlife refuge. We buy scratch and black oil sunflower by the ton and feed a LOT. I can only hope the chicks are naturally getting a balanced diet of bugs, green things and scratch and sunflower. I still really wonder though what actually ends up in their craw in a day? I saw one yesterday eating algae from a water dish, I saw my Emily down the mouse last week, I have seen them chase lizards and catch cicadas on the fly. I get a bit worried some times, but I have been trying to think about my great Grandmother's chickens when I was very small, they NEVER ate any store bought food (very rural and poor people). I guess from reading posts that the girls might not lay as much as they would if they ate only the "right" mix of nutrients, but isn't bug and sunflower seed protein just as good as soybean? Anyway thanks for letting a sometimes anxious chicken mom ramble!
  2. AccidentalFarm

    AccidentalFarm Songster

    Mar 29, 2007
    It sounds like your flock has a wonderful place to live! Personally, I wouldn't worry much about them getting the right mix of nutrients unless they start to appear unhealthy. They're getting tons of protein from all the bugs, plenty of grit and probably calcium from the ground, other nutrients from the grass and weeds they gobble up. Not to mention the algae and mice...ugh! You're providing them with 'proper' feed and since you are having to refill it daily, even if just a little, they are eating it and getting a full crop of all the good stuff they need. Sounds like a flock of lucky, lucky birds. [​IMG]
  3. panner123

    panner123 Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    Garden Valley, ca
    If they straight getting skinny and dying you need to up the feed. If they are healthy and laying for you, don't worry about it. A lot of people think they are helping animals by over feeding them, but in fact they are causing them more problems. Over weigh chickens have a shorter life spand as do humans.

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