Feeding advice/Free-range advice

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Anabariful, May 8, 2017.

  1. Anabariful

    Anabariful Chillin' With My Peeps

    197
    155
    121
    Apr 25, 2017
    Beautiful Ohio
    Hello all,

    I have seven 3 month old English Orpingtons that I have been free-ranging for the past month. They are let out first thing in the morning with their coop door open all day long and they return on their own accord at nightfall. I have several huge feeders and watering bowls about the property for them, mostly near their coop though for convenience. Property size is about 1.8 acres. Hubs and I know that these are not Cornish-crosses and therefore will not be "beefy" or rapidly gain weight but they seem kinda "thin." :/ I pick them up and easily think they weigh about 2 or 3 pounds, if not less. Hubs thinks that they should be put in a run to ensure that they are getting enough feed as he honestly thinks they may either be not getting enough due to lack of intelligence :lol: or due to being too occupied exploring. We are located in Ohio and just had a frost last night so there isn't much bugs, berries, seeds out here yet. So, is 3 months old too young to free-range? Are chickens really "too stupid" to go back to their feeders and can possibly starve themselves? I honestly feel stupid for even asking. :/ Is there any signs I should be looking for? Stools seem normal, eyes are bright, no signs of illness except that they seem a bit thin. I see them stopping at the feeders maybe twice or three times during the entire 11 hour period of being out. Not sure how much they are actually getting but I do have to refill a couple of them during the period. They share feeders with 2 runner ducks and I mama Buff Orpington hen and her 3 chicks that are about 3 weeks old. I will add that there are about 4 feeders out and 4 watering dishes spread out so plenty to go around for everyone. I am feeding them a blend of Purina un-medicated chick feed, purina layer crumbles, purina scratch grains, purina oyster shell grit, some black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, etc. I would love advice on feed as well such as brands and which type to buy? Should they solely be on chick feed still? Am I okay mixing the different kinds?

    Thank you to everyone who reads and of course, to those who reply! Much appreciated! :D
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,732
    2,362
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    What are you feeding them?
     
  3. Anabariful

    Anabariful Chillin' With My Peeps

    197
    155
    121
    Apr 25, 2017
    Beautiful Ohio
    I am feeding them a blend of Purina feeds: unmedicated chick, scratch, layer crumbles, and various other things like black oil sunflower seeds, oyster shell grit, dried meal worms, etc. I would love feed advice as in brands and type. Should I only be feeding them chick feed right now?
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    7,564
    2,055
    416
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! You are overcomplicating things, and unbalancing their diet, and inviting 'varmits' to your feeding stations. Three month old chicks need chick starter, or an all-flock feed like Flock Raiser, and nothing else. Maybe some stuff that they find on the ground, but not other feed mixed in. Have their feed in the coop, or covered run, ONLY, so they can eat there, and raccoons and possums, etc, aren't invited to share your feed. Oyster shell in a separate dish is for laying hens, and IS NOT the same as limestone grit. They will do fine and not overdue on treats. Mary
     
  5. Anabariful

    Anabariful Chillin' With My Peeps

    197
    155
    121
    Apr 25, 2017
    Beautiful Ohio


    Thank you Mary! I appreciate all the information! Should I continue to free-range them or put them in a run? Is 3 months too young to free-range?
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    20,849
    4,071
    421
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    First things first. Layer feed is for actively laying birds only, that's why it's called layer. Scratch isn't a feed. It's an extra that you sprinkle on the ground for them to scratch at to alleviate boredom when confined. They need unlimited access to chick starter or flock raiser during the day. They will likely get plenty of grit from foraging.
     
  7. Anabariful

    Anabariful Chillin' With My Peeps

    197
    155
    121
    Apr 25, 2017
    Beautiful Ohio

    Thanks for the clarification! I will be switching solely to chick feed. :) Is 3 months okay for free ranging or do they need to be in a run?
     
  8. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    20,849
    4,071
    421
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    I've had day old chicks free range with broody hens. If you feel comfortable with the potential risks of free ranging (predation), then go ahead and let them continue.
     
  9. cholland

    cholland Chillin' With My Peeps

    61
    53
    55
    Jan 17, 2017
    California
    Free ranging is fine. They will be happier. I would not worry about the diet. But watch for predators. Younger birds may not be as smart around things trying to eat them.
     
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    7,564
    2,055
    416
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    It's fine for them to be out, but do adjust their diet. Mary
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by