Another question about feeding

ellie32526

Songster
7 Years
Oct 21, 2012
423
21
103
North Texas
Okay so I don't have my chickens yet. Have the breeds picked out and know where I plan to purchase my chicks in Spring, but for now I am content to learn all I can so I will be ready to be a good mom! LOL I read chickens need at least 10 square feet of space each for grazing. I will have a portion of my yard fenced off so the chickens will be able to free range in their yard all day and there will be a feeder outside. I plan to make grazing trays so they don't totally ruin the grass and they always have some green stuff to forage on. I do not plan to have a feeder inside at night. If they free range and they have a feeder outside will they get the right amount of nutrition. I read another post that said her chickens didin't touch the feeder outside because they free range all day. Now I'm worried they won't eat the right stuff to be healthy. At night I will close the chickens inside. I'm so paranoid about attracting rats. Am I just being overly nuts or what?
 

ChickensRDinos

Songster
7 Years
Aug 19, 2012
2,242
236
208
Los Angeles
You are not nuts! It is good to think about these things. Mice and rats are attracted to feed and wild birds, which I am currently battling. I have not had a problem with mice around the coop because my chickens eat them. Make sure you store the food really well in your garage or barn - that may end up being the bigger problem.

They will ruin the grass inside their fenced off area. Chickens are surprisingly destructive. They will also dig holes. Doing grazing trays is a great idea to keep them with greens. Here is a good thread about growing fodder indoors:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/713334/growing-fodder-for-chickens

Mealworms are also a great treat that you can farm easy and cheap at home for a healthy, high protein snack. Chickens LOVE them so they are also a good way to tame chickens that are a little more skittish.

I have a small yard and let my hens free range. I have a feeder out all the time and a bowl of oyster shell. They eat plenty of the feed. I would do what you are planning and try to observe them - they should self regulate pretty well just don't go over board on scratch or other corn based treats. If you feel like you are having protein problems perhaps shut them in for half the day and only let them out in the evenings. That way they will eat the feed in the mornings when they are most hungry. But, I think they should be fine as is.

If you are not going to keep feed in with them in the coop, be sure to be diligent about always letting them out first thing in the morning.
 
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ellie32526

Songster
7 Years
Oct 21, 2012
423
21
103
North Texas
Thank you, I appreciate your comments. I still work so I will be tending them before I leave for work in the morning ( I leave at 6am ) to collect any eggs, open the pop door and check their food and water. My mom is home during the day and will keep an eye on them. I will look at the things you suggested. Thanks again!
 

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