Chickens are outsourcing their food and water?


Aug 20, 2015
North carolina
We have 5 chickens that are about 9 or 10 months old. An orpington (buff and lavender), Rhode islands, and a wyandotte. The Rhode Islands maybe, but I mostly have been told these breeds aren't really the foraging type. Their waterer has been sitting for 3 days barely touched, and they are mostly leaving their feed to get mashed into the ground. They've figured out how to escape their run and have been foraging over about a quarter acre.

We have one girl who decided to do a small molt during the heat wave, and we are still getting 1-2 eggs per day. Eggs are great, strong, rich, uniform, etc. Girls and roo look fat and bright.

I'm not going to change anything because they are obviously healthy, but I wasn't expecting them to become snobbish about their nutrition sources and bypass me entirely. I feel negligent, but they obviously were not pleased with my hose water and pressed pellet choices.

Do chickens do this often!? Do they decide to just sustain themselves?is this a miracle that my budget should be glad for, or a pretty regular thing that my budget should still be glad for?


Apr 17, 2015
Long Beach, WA
My flock mostly finds their own food and water. They have food and water available all day long in their run, but they prefer to forage over my 1 acre property. I have birds that refuse to drink from their waterers entirely and will only drink from puddles. Some days they eat a lot of feed, some days they just barely peck at it. Most of the time they are pretty good at knowing what they need and when they need it.


Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
Sounds pretty normal except that when mine find a puddle of clean water they like to scratch in it and muddy it up before they drink. Clean water, not if I can find muddy! How they eat when given a chance to forage depends a lot on the quality of forage, what kind of mix of grass and weeds, grass and weed seeds, various creepy crawlies, and often some pretty disgusting things to scratch in. A lot of people have trouble accepting this, but with really good quality forage chickens can pretty much feed themselves. Most of us don’t have that quality of forage, especially in winter, so they usually need supplemental feed. But it sounds like you are doing pretty well to me. I’m not at all surprised at the production you are seeing on that diet.

I’m not a great believer in the breed thing. Yes, some breeds have some tendencies but mostly chickens are chickens. Mostly they will behave like chickens, not breeds. Besides with only five spread in three different breeds, you don’t have enough for the averages to mean anything anyway.

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