Eating all grass, no feed?


8 Years
May 29, 2011
I recently finished building a chicken tractor and brought home 3 established layers from my dad's Arucana/Delaware/cornish cross stock. His hens don't free-range, but they have a pretty large (15'x15') "flight pen" in which to roam around, and he throws in grass clippings/scraps/etc. on a regular basis, but there's nothing growing in there anymore; it's all dirt.

I live in suburbia and this is my first time having my very own chickens. Since bringing them home on Sunday, they've barely touched their feed, but they're going NUTS on the fresh grass that their "tractor" is parked on. Their feed is inside the enclosed part of their "tractor" right next to the nest box, and since I got 3 eggs from them yesterday, I know they've all gone inside the enclosed part at least once, so they know where the feed is. Also, it's the same feed I brought home from my dad's, so it's no different than what they're used to. But in 2 days, I don't think they've eatern more then a handful of feed, if that.

So... if they have access to fresh growing grass every day, is it normal/OK for them to practically avoid real feed at all costs??? On one hand, I'm happy that my feed bill could be very light for the summer months:D, but on the other hand, I wonder if they're getting everything they need, nutritionally.
I'd say they're just enjoying the fresh grass. Maybe after the novelty has worn off, they'll prefer a bit more feed, but they still won't eat nearly as much feed as long as they have grass/bugs available. As long as they appear healthy and are laying, just be happy they're not going through much chicken chow
My feed bill in the summer is really, really low. My chickens forage all day. In the winter I fill their feeder every other day. In the summer maybe once every two weeks. The eggs are better in summer too. Yolks are more orange-yelow color and taste better too!
We keep feeder in covered run area, too. But our chickens forage most of the time around the grassy yard. They also love hanging out under the rabbit hutch. They come running when I call them to give them scratch or other treats! I worried, too about them getting enough to eat. But they are doing just fine! Growing well and happy!

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