do free rangers eat enough?

peggyblue

Hatching
10 Years
Sep 28, 2009
8
0
7
West Haven CT
I have 4 chickens who meander about on 1/4 acre, fenced. There's chick pellets (layers mash and developer feed) and water in the barn, and I put more in the yard in one spot. But the only takers seem to be the squirrels! If chickens have a lot of space, is it possible they are not 'finding' or choosing the real food, and may not be getting enough nutrition? I have one hen that's 18 mos, and lays daily, and 3 'babies' who will be at point of lay this month. My layer hen seems skinny, but the food is available all the time. Should I worry? Should I restrict their roaming so they eat more of the pellets? They all seem like picky eaters too. They love mealworms, and macaroni, but show no interest in other vegetables, or leftovers. I had 2 pumpkins out there and they barely touched them. (squirrels again had fun - I have the fattest squirrels - I wish they could lay eggs.)
 

chickenbaguette

Songster
8 Years
Jul 2, 2011
321
2
101
No, don't restrict them. It's much better for them to eat bugs, worms and grass free range. Layers mash is just for chickens who don't get enough of other things. Have you seen any of them eating the feed at all? Do they know where they are? Oh and you don't need developer feed in the layers mash for full grown chickens...
 

chickenbaguette

Songster
8 Years
Jul 2, 2011
321
2
101
If they still lay a normal number of eggs they aren't too thin. As soon as they don't get enough food they will stop.
 

WoodlandWoman

Crowing
12 Years
May 8, 2007
5,717
80
283
Wisconsin
What breed is your hen that's laying? She might be a lightweight breed, instead of a heavyweight breed. If she is, that would make her look skinny, in comparison.
 

JodyJo

Songster
9 Years
Sep 27, 2010
2,786
55
188
Colorado
Flockmaster is right...what type of chickens do you have? Mine all free range, plus I supply free feed in the run. They spend the days foraging around...all are fat and happy, except one, my California White, she is a smaller breed....but healthy for her type. I get an egg every single day from her and have since the day she reached POL...even with winter here, I get an egg a day!

Don't restrict their feed...continue what you are doing, offer table scraps and treats from the kitchen as well, seeing as winter cuts down on the greens they find while foraging.
Keep offering the treats...it takes a bit for them to catch on at times.
 

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