Are they getting enough food?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by wordgirl, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. wordgirl

    wordgirl One of the Shire-folk

    Apr 14, 2009
    We free range our pullets from about nine or ten in the morning until dusk. They LOVE it, and spend hardly any time in the coop during the day. So, my question is...since they're only eating crumble for a few hours in the morning, and a few minutes at night, are they getting suitable nutrition for growing? And I've heard laying often starts later if you free range your pullets before lay. Is this true? How much later?

    Thanks, fellow BYC'ers! I love it here! [​IMG]
  2. pkeeler

    pkeeler Songster

    Jul 20, 2008
    I would think that if you don't lock them up with antibiotics, high protein feed, etc., that they would mature a little later. Different breeds develop at different rates and certain hybrids mature much faster.

    Birds hatched later, might not lay until the following Spring, without supplemental light.

    However, chickens lay a certain amount of eggs and then they stop. Most backyard hobbyists don't mind spreading out the production over a longer time frame since they don't need that many eggs and don't mind having the old hens around. If you need more eggs, it is a good excuse to get more chickens [​IMG]

    If the chickens know where the feed is, they will eat enough of it. I wouldn't worry about that.
  3. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Quote:Lets see if you love what I'm about to say.
    Are they getting enough food? I'm inclined to say - - maybe.
    I suggest you keep the feeder outside the coop where they can get at it at all times they are on the range.



    Whether they love running amok and being "free" is beside the point, if they know nothing different. The question is:
    Do you know what they are eating?[/u]

    It's funny, we control every crumb that enters our families mouths, but allow our chickens (with which we hope to feed our family) to run "free" with out any control at all. How is that stewardship?
    Bottom line is this: if you are unsure of the nutrient value of your chicken range, how can anyone possibly tell you all is well?

    The word "range" implies controlled conditions. That's really what a range is. It is primarily a supplement, a planned part of a greater scheme which includes other, predictable feeds. Think of other livestock, say sheep, for example. They are not turned loose to roam about the whole day like hobos, scrounging what they can... their range and their feed is controlled for best effect. Entire industries of man have been built on that one simple premise, for centuries.

    If I could, I would separate the two terms, "free" and "range." I would offer "controlled forage" instead. 'Not as romantic, I suppose, to say, "I allow 'controlled foraging' for my chickens..."
    But it certainly suggests how we should be thinking.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009

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