Feeding flock that is forced to be cooped up


8 Years
Aug 24, 2011
Hey all,

I recently lost close to 20 of my poultry (hens, roos, and ducks) to the coyote family that has moved in below my property. I have a total of 5 hens with 14 chicks that have been forced to live in a 18 FT * 5 FT green house turned into a coop. This is not ideal, and I am not happy about it. But I don't want the rest to be picked off either, and this is what this USDA suggested for me. I am working on their run enclosure, but that may take a little bit as the ground is almost impossible to dig in, and I have other household maintenance that must be taken care of before I can push funding into my fence.

My concern however, is properly feeding them. I have a 16% layer feed that they have always been getting, but they obviously won't be getting all the bugs and greens from outside as they used to be free range. Now that I don't have any ducks in with the chickens I am going to start providing Chick starter for the babies.

I have a few trays set up under grow lights with grass seeds (hopefully sprouts soon) that I want to rotate in the coop so they get the greens. But is there anything else you all would suggest to make sure they are getting as good of a diet as I possibly can?

Any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated!
Hello from another Washingtonian.

Have you thought about fermented feed? It won't replace bugs and grass, but it will help the birds get the most out of their nutrition that they are getting.
I hadn't thought of fermented feed... or even heard of it honestly. I am going to look into it though!
Predation from multiple sources is an issue for me too. I put apple cider vinegar in their water, put a large bowl in each of my 3 large coop/runs and put in dehydrated alfalfa pellets and cover them with water - also add the whey from when I make my Kefir twice a wk ( if you are not familiar with Kefir think drinkable Yogurt that has 30 Xs the nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and healthful bacteria and yeasts and is able to colonize the digestive tract toward the goal of better digestion and absorption, improved immunity and more - visit www.culturedfoodlife.com for more info about the benefits of fermentation which has already been mentioned in this thread ). Chickens are experts when it comes to knowing what is good nutrition for them and they get very excited when I enter the run area carrying the container of whey which I add to the large bowl of alfalfa water. The whey ferments the alfalfa water - it looks terrible - like a dark green bubbling witches brew but they love it and favor it over their regular drinking water. I also give them lots of greens, flowers, fruit, etc. from our farm gardens. Melon rinds are also a farorite along with the number one - ripe tomatoes.
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