Feeding with change of lifestyle.


8 Years
May 20, 2011
Louisville, the River City, Kentucky
Picking up my chickens tomorrow. They will be about 20 weeks old and have been brought up on cracked corn and whatever they can find in the barnyard. They are not laying yet. I just bourght layer feed, and grit, oyster shell. They were in a "Petting farm". What should I expect in behavior, eating, and laying when I reduce the 5 of them to 45 sqft of run + 20 sqft of coop?
Sometimes I have noted depression in my hens when I abruptly changed from free ranging to confinement. But this passes and they become happy again.

In the meantime, keep them busy. Hang a head of cabbage for them to peck at, get a flock block or throw treats out for them every day such as very short (2-3") grass clippings, clover leaves, dandelion leaves, or black oil sunflower seeds/millet.

A little bowl of warm oatmeal is yummy, as are melon rinds, or bread ends!

You can make them a dust bath with some sand, DE, ashes from the woodstove when available, and dirt. You can use a concrete mixing tub or raised bed area for this- make sure it is out of the rain.

Give them perches to hang out on- a tree branch works nicely.

I like putting a pallet on concrete blocks and they go underneath for naps, and preen themselves on top of it.

In other words, a chicken playground!

It is a good idea to have golf balls or fake eggs in the nests where you want them to lay.

If you want to see true chicken enjoyment, dig up a square of sod and deliver it to them like a pizza. They will tear it to bits and eat every green thing off it.

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