Feeding too much reduces foraging?

Outta Here

Songster
May 17, 2021
462
1,638
186
Here is my flock "foraging" an hour after I let them out. Do any of you restrict food (feed only at night, etc.) for better foraging? Or do you think they just are great foragers and are full after an hour? They LOVE to hang out on my porch (hide under the chaise lounge when hawks screech) and seem to spend more time there than out on the grass and native area.

20210709_064229.jpg
 

U_Stormcrow

Crossing the Road
Jun 7, 2020
8,161
28,549
776
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
I feed once daily, in the evenings (to ensure they sleep with full crops, give me a chance to monitor flock health, some impression of how well they are foraging, get them back into the runs, etc) and force the birds to forage all day. It works for me and my flock. I didn't read it anywhere, its not backed by any studies I'm aware of, and is just sort of something that "happened". So my example should be considered anecdote, not data.

During the day, its not uncommon to see the chickens hiding in the shade, dust bathing, doing everything BUT foraging for a while. Then off they go to forage some more... I don't pretend to understand it, can offer no reason for it - but every bird I butcher for the table seems healthy, and I can't complain about the quality of the eggs - so I let my chickens be chickens. They are better at it than I am.
 

Outta Here

Songster
May 17, 2021
462
1,638
186
Free choice feeding of a balanced diet is most important for all but Cornishx birds. Then they still forage just fine, because all those yummy finds out there are so worth the effort!
And fencing will keep them off your porch, as long as you have shade, trees, shrubs, and other places for them to hang out.
Mary
Thanks! Then I'll just keep the hoopers full and keep cleaning porch poop daily! I know I should fence them off, but I actually like them close in--I come and sit (on a clean chair!) with them companionably. Sometimes I even play my harp for them!!
20210709_070656.jpg
 

Outta Here

Songster
May 17, 2021
462
1,638
186
I feed once daily, in the evenings (to ensure they sleep with full crops, give me a chance to monitor flock health, some impression of how well they are foraging, get them back into the runs, etc) and force the birds to forage all day. It works for me and my flock. I didn't read it anywhere, its not backed by any studies I'm aware of, and is just sort of something that "happened". So my example should be considered anecdote, not data.

During the day, its not uncommon to see the chickens hiding in the shade, dust bathing, doing everything BUT foraging for a while. Then off they go to forage some more... I don't pretend to understand it, can offer no reason for it - but every bird I butcher for the table seems healthy, and I can't complain about the quality of the eggs - so I let my chickens be chickens. They are better at it than I am.
Well, now, maybe I will try that method, too! Thanks!
 

LizzzyJo

Show me the data 👩🏼‍🔬
Dec 14, 2018
1,925
5,046
337
The Great Black Swamp, Ohio
This scene is beautiful and I love your porch. I am wondering how long you've had them? They seem like young pullets? This may be an unpopular opinion, but they are going to wreck that pretty porch with poop. Maybe they need some covered areas in the yard? Mine spend most of the day under the picnic table. Shade and hawk protection. Possibly some furniture off the porch with some food tidbits under it each day will reorient them in time to save the pretty porch...
 

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