Feed my girls inside or out?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by norwichred, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. norwichred

    norwichred Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 13, 2012
    I have a large coop and a smaller run. At the moment I feed my chickens outside. They have a pellet feeder (and today they started layer pellets) and a water feeder. I scatter mealworms around the run morning and evening which they adore and come running for.

    I am going to get some corn. They also have a grit block to peck at and occasionally I give them a boredom buster pecking block which they destroy in about a day so I can't afford it too often :)

    My question is - on the layer pellets it says chickens should be fed indoors wherever possible. Should I put the pellets and the water inside and just scatter the mealworms and corn outside?

    There's plenty of space for me to put their feeders inside so which is best?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As long as they have access, it really is a personal preference. Our coop isn't very big and we want to encourage them to only use it for laying and sleeping, so we keep the food and water in the run. When it's rainy, we move the feeder under the coop so it doesn't get all soggy, though. As a rule, when it gets dark and they go inside, all they do is sleep, so as long as they can get out to the food and water when they wake up, that's cool.

    For amusement I throw some cracked corn around to let them peck at as well as various weeds and greens and kitchen scraps including protein like meat, yogurt, cheese and cooked beans. You can even hang a head of cabbage on a string and let them play "tetherball" with it, LOL

    If they're laying, I'd also recommend providing some crushed oyster shell. If they need the extra calcium, they'll help themselves to it.
     
  3. norwichred

    norwichred Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 13, 2012
    Thank you :)
     
  4. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're most welcome! I forgot to say "welcome to BYC" :) Glad to have you aboard and hope your enjoying your chooks!
     
  5. norwichred

    norwichred Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 13, 2012
    At the moment they're out unsupervised so I am panicking and running out every five mins. Twice I've had to chase them back from the neighbours garden. I don't know if they will eventually learn or not. If not it will be they're only time out unsupervised :)
     
  6. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I seriously doubt they'll learn. They just go where they think there'll be good stuff to eat and explore. All it takes is for one of them to go off on her own and usually all the others will chase on after. Lots of folks only let the chickens free range for an hour or so a day, when they can be out with them to keep an eye on things. The only time ours have been out of the run was one time when we were doing some work on it and they "escaped", LOL. I don't think they're too hard done by though...including the area under the coop, their run is about 100 square feet, so they have plenty of room. Since it's moved frequently, they have "new" territory to explore, new weeds to eat and fresh ground to search for bugs. They always seem to find something to scratch at. We do throw in some corn (I suggest getting cracked corn) in there for them to "hunt" for. We also have a neighbor who brews her own beer. She lets us have the spent grain from that and we dry it and then throw a couple handfuls of that in there as well...they love it! We also made a box for them to dust bathe in so that keeps them busy as well.
     
  7. norwichred

    norwichred Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 13, 2012
    Thanks again - this place is really helpful.

    In the end they were out for about 90 mins and then went back of their own accord. They've been perched in the coop ever since. Must be knackered - it's the longest they've been out.

    Interestingly after they went back in I was playing my guitar at the front of the house (around midday) and a fox went wondering down the path as bold as brass. Unbelievable.

    My brother in law brews and offered me the leftovers but I had been told chickens don't like it (same person who sold me the crap coop) so I turned it down. Next time I will accept.

    Thanks!
     
  8. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like it's good you were there! Now you definitely know not to let them out unsupervised or that fox is liable to get a nice snack.

    Ours really don't go in the coop except to lay or to sleep at night, which is exactly what we want, so we're lucky that way. Even on cold, rainy days they tend to just huddle under it rather than go in it. It must have been a lot of excitement for them :) We put ours on our vegetable garden a few days ago and they are happy, happy hens now! We used some poles and wire and put it all around the area so instead of going out into the run they have a larger area now and they're digging and scratching and fertilizing as they go. Come spring, I think we'll just need to till lightly and plant. Awesome!

    Hehe, sounds to me like you need to disregard the advice from that person. Spent grains are really good for chickens and in general they really like them. We dried what we got because there was so much it would have molded before they got it all eaten. It's very arid here so we just spread it on the driveway for a couple days and then packed it in a a plastic tote container. There's enough that it should last most of the winter for us, since we only give them a cup or two a day. You might ask your BIL; if he brews, he likely knows others who do. You could try just a few at first to see if your girls like it. It's possible they won't...they're funny critters. Most folks say their chickens go wild for strawberries, but mine won't have anything to do with them.
     

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