Feeding bagged feed vs. foraging

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by InviteTanner, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. InviteTanner

    InviteTanner Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 8, 2011
    My chickens have free run of almost ten acres, lots of trees and tall grass (which means bugs and weeds/grasses), but they act like they're starving all of the time! I give them a couple of scoops of feed in the morning, they gobble it down, then a couple of hours later they're following me around and crying. What's going on here? Do I need to give them some tough love and let them find stuff to eat until the next morning? Or don't chickens find enough to eat via foraging?
  2. AlaskGirl

    AlaskGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2010
    Mine are ridiculous too, they have access to all the crumble they need plus any food scraps I have. I can feed them 10x a day and it seems they've been starved. I refuse to pay them any attention, they eat like kings.
  3. jojo@rolling acres farm

    [email protected] acres farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2009
    I give all of my birds a "midnight" snack right before I put them to bed each evening. It helps them know when to come on home to roost. When they see my car coming down the driveway they all run to greet me. Twenty Five geese, 8 ducks and several chickens. Feeling the love....all the way down the driveway...even though most of that "love" has to do with feed - it still makes me smile.
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Chickens will do whatever it takes to minimize effort required to feed themselves. Mine have access to more than 20 acres yet they tighten up their free ranging so long as I offer feed. If feeding stop, then only a couple days required for range to expand.
  5. InviteTanner

    InviteTanner Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 8, 2011
    "they tighten up their free ranging so long as I offer feed"

    Sounds a great deal like my husband.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  6. jujubee

    jujubee Feather Hill Farm

    Mar 3, 2011
    Mine are the same way. They have 47 acres ( not that I want them way out of my sight) but they stay close to the house and barn. I do feed them feed for breakfast when I let them out. Then lunch more feed, a afternoon snack of veges or healthy left overs from our table, then of course dinner. More feed.They eat bugs,grass, weed seeds & etc in between. Its really no wonder that they swarm me and my hubby for grub instead of finding it ALL for their selfs. I think most of us have good intentions on allowing free ranging. We know its the best for them, but somewhere along the way we fall in love with those little buggers running up to us peeping and squawking for handouts.
    For me its a co-dependent relationship. lol. They love the food, try telling them too much of a good is a bad thing. I love feeding them, and spending time talking chicken to them. I know all the hand outs its not in their best interest buuutt I CANT HELP IT! ......Guess I should add thats its gotten so bad they are now coming to the front door of the house raising cain untill I come out with extras!
  7. InviteTanner

    InviteTanner Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 8, 2011
    Thanks for all of your replies. I don't want to be denying them something they need, but I do feel like they could be a little more self reliant.
  8. homesteadmomma

    homesteadmomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 26, 2011
    Parke Co. Indiana
    I've got 4 month olds that have been free ranging for the last couple months. I finally got tired of all the feed they were consuming and spilling on the floor. So now every morning they get one big scoop of feed. If it's all gone quickly, then they get another scoop mid afternoon. They have really done a lot better these last few days, because I haven't noticed anymore seeds on the grass and the dandelions are all gone.
  9. HICK

    HICK New Egg

    Jun 14, 2011
    We feed ours a set amount of feed in morning. They always clean it all up by noon. Hens have to make up difference. If they start ranging too far, we put more feed in feeder next morning. Cleanup by noon but do not go too far away is how we decide how much they need.
  10. bertman

    bertman Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2011
    With all of the free-ranging/foraging your birds are doing, do you lose any to predators? We have hawks, owls, coyotes, foxes, bobcats that are all very fond of fresh chicken.
    I'm afraid to let our girls out unless they have a 'responsible adult' chaperoning to keep away the bad guys.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by