Crumbles for free ranch hens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by eggfinder, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. eggfinder

    eggfinder New Egg

    Dec 15, 2010
    Since my chickens are 'free range', can i reduce the amount of commercial feed?
  2. Zoomom

    Zoomom Certified Cackleberry Consumer

    Jan 22, 2009
    Ontario, Canada
    I would recommend you always have the food available in the coop/run area, and they will self-regulate the amount they eat depending on what they eat of the other stuff they find. You should notice a difference in consumption.

    I am not sure about what to do about balancing the diet to make sure they have enough of what they need to be good layers though. Maybe someone else has some insight into that.

    Hope this helps.
  3. mistymeadowchicks

    mistymeadowchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2010
    My hens free range from very early morning until dusk. They also have free choice layer pellets available in the coop at all times. I have noticed a huge (like 70%) drop in pellet consumption in the last couple weeks as the weather has gotten warmer & insects/ other goodies more plentiful. My hens never slowed down laying this winter, in contrast to some friends who ration their feed. IMHO, I think they should have food/ as well as oyster/ egg shell readily available: they will eat what they need when they need it. But believe me, they really seem to prefer the stuff they find themselves--when it's available.
  4. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2009
    What mistymeadowchick said x's 100!

    Never ration food they definitely know what they need. Free ranging makes the yolks so yellow and rich. I can't free range because of dogs, hawks and coyotes so I use an electrified chicken tractor.
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I agree, commercial feed consumption goes way down when lots of forage is available, but even then they do eat a little of it, and I would not want to deprive them if they feel they need it.
  6. BarefootMom

    BarefootMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2010
    Half Way, Missouri

    we have free ranged from day one and so I don't really have anything to compare to except from what I have read on here.

    I have 31 chickens and 10 ducks and we go through about 100 lbs of feed every 2-3 weeks or so. I buy a 50lb bag of scratch grains and a 50lb bag of layer pellets. Right now they don't seem to eat as much since the grass is growing and the bugs are coming back. We have 1 feeder that will hold about 25lbs of feed at once and we refill it about once a week. The rest of the feed I feed outside.

    They also get table scraps from every meal.

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