Cooped Birds eating habits vs. Free Range

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by leasmom, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. leasmom

    leasmom Songster

    May 25, 2008
    I have five golden comets, I had six but one died. And they are in a 2 story coop-(coop at the top/run at the bottom) in an area that doesn't have alot of grass/weeds where they're coop is. I have basically wiped out my little weed supply on the opposite side where I gather up weeds to feed them. I noticed that they have enormous appetites. I fill up their automatic feeder-(for cats/dogs)-and I know that one of the chickens scratches most of it out but thats fine because it lands on the ground where the other chickens are...alot of it landed in their water. But they are just large eaters and I know they say that free range chickens eat less feed than cooped birds. Is that true for your birds??? If not, what do you do? I give them oyster shell/grit mixed together and they can peck for worms and I extended their chicken run so they're outside but enclosed...what can I do??/
  2. Mom 2em All

    Mom 2em All Songster

    Apr 20, 2008
    Southeast Michigan
    My chickens (one is about four months old, the other six are about two months old) are in a yard that is approximately 23 X 20 foot. They barely eat any chicken feed. They have it available-however they catch bugs, eat grass and plants and weeds, etc. I was concerned at first, but I figure they know what they are doing. They eat up yogurt and corn on the cob and watermelon slices. They do not care for oatmeal- however, I suspect it is because they have so many other choices out there.
    I expect them to eat even less as fall approaches, and more treats and seeds become available. Then as their supply decreases, they will eat more chicken feed.

    I am not sure what you are asking?
  3. Chickies

    Chickies In the Brooder

    Mar 24, 2008
    Northeast Florida
    my chickens are free range and i just feed them when they come in at night, and they don't eat much because they've been eating bugs and grass and who knows what else (dead frog was a winner--gross!) they still chase after me whevever i come outside hoping for goodies--ripe bananas and watermelon rinds are 2 favorites. they seem to get most of their food during the day while they're out.
  4. leasmom

    leasmom Songster

    May 25, 2008
    I have read many times that free range birds eat less feed because they eat other things. I read that cooped birds eat more. I wanted to know about the eating habits of everyone elses birds...whether they eat alot or less and why. They're two story coop has a run and a extended run at the bottom but there isn't much weeds and definately not any grass there so they're eating like crazy. I gave them some chicken scratch today and they seem to love it and I am still providing chicken feed and oyster shell and grit. Four of the birds go down to the run underneath while one stays at the top and refuses to go down, so that one has access to the majority of the food while the rest look for bugs/worms and wait for me to throw them a treat. With my weed source disappearing, there isn't much for them except what I give them. I give them mulberries when they are ripe right near their coop but I'm running out of weeds for them...I wanted to know what everyone else did.
  5. punkin

    punkin Songster

    Jun 18, 2008
    East Tennessee
    My girls are in a 75 sq. ft. run. All of the grass is long gone. They have feed available in the coop 24/7. Every day they get several goodies from me. Anything from treats (yogurt, watermelon, oatmeal, etc.) which are things they would not find if free range to things they would get if they were free range (handfulls of grass, squash bugs, crickets, other greens). I don't consider things that they would find out free ranging as treats. They also get lots of kitchen scraps as long as they aren't full of sodium. My 9 hens eat about 7 cups of feed every 10-14 days (alot also gets scattered about in the coop). If I don't throw extra stuff in, they just eat the feed.

    Hope this helps.
  6. leasmom

    leasmom Songster

    May 25, 2008
    Oh okay. I was wondering...they eat so much I thought maybe it was out of boredom-[​IMG] I made my own scratch mix: oats, wild bird seed w/cracked corn, and flax seeds. I also give them greens either from the house or the weeds, berries off the tree if they're available, watermelon-(I don't think they are big fans of it, I guess they've eaten it too much), and I make them lentils mixed with whole wheat and corn flours. They love that...and I offer them feed 24/7.
  7. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Cooped Birds eating habits vs. Free Range

    Cooped: Pick up and eat food from feeder, pounce on any bug, bit of feather fluff, dust bunny, leaf, etc. that happens by.

    Non cooped: pounce on any bug, bit of feather fluff, dust bunny, leaf, etc, that happens by. Pick up and eat food from feeder when back at the coop.
  8. I have 12 golden comets, coop/roofed run, aged 9 weeks and they're eating HUGE amounts of crumbles. They also have bugs in the run and can reach through the hardware cloth to get nasturtiums and other plants. There are two hay bales for them to jump up and down from platforms and the roost, and they take strands of that. When I move the outdoor bale they go for insects under it. Oh and there are few spiders in the coop, now.

    Aren't they amazing birds? So friendly. Mine are growing so fast and I understand their protein needs and have food/water available at all times, indoors.[​IMG]
  9. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    My dad was telling me a story about when his dad owned a thousand chickens and a bunch of cows. He said that when they would allow them to grass feed the cows gave twice as much milk and the chickens would lay more eggs [​IMG] (on average one eggs more a week per chicken) Can't beat that! His dad kept a written diary of their eating habits and what they laid. He kept his chickens in four large pens, 25 to a pen.
  10. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    Each of my egg-laying, free-ranging hens lays an egg a day. Mine are true free-range meaning no fencing. Just let out of coop in morning and they run around farm all day long, returning to get treats or food during day or to lay in nest boxes. If your chickens are in an enclosed run, no matter how large, it will soon be depleted of any bugs and natural food supply so they will still eat a lot of feed. Mine don't eat too much feed, kind of peck out what they like since I mix it with black oil sunflower seeds and scratch and grains and I hand feed them leftovers; veggies; fruits; breads usually mid-day and early evening in an attempt to keep them near the coop/run area especially in early evening because I initially lost a few of my wildest chickens due to fact they would wander deep into woods and not return till pitch dark - some not to return at all. Now everyone kind of hangs out within guard distance of our GSD, Rex and while the feed is there in their coop and run they are usually in the pasture and grassy yard areas eating bugs and scratching for goodies and foraging for their food. Seems like they prefer doing that than just simply eating what's in their feeders. I'm guessing it just tastes better and is more fun.

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