First day out in the tractor, should I be providing food?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Sinfonian, May 22, 2011.

  1. Sinfonian

    Sinfonian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My coop is not done yet, but the weather is improving and the 4 girls are getting antsy in their brooder at nearly 2 months old. So I built a quick tractor for them to hang out in the yard and forage on bugs and grass (which they love). I know I should be providing water for their 8 plus hours outside, but should I be providing chicken feed? I don't want them to fill up on feed and not forage... I'm trying to give them as much of a free-range experience as I can while protecting my garden. Here's a pic of the tractor I took today.

    [​IMG]

    Thoughts? Thanks!
     
  2. JulieNKC

    JulieNKC Overrun With Chickens

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    I would feed them. They will still forage, but I still have to supplement my girls diet with feed, and they are free range.
     
  3. Sinfonian

    Sinfonian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I should have mentioned that they still have food in their brooder, just not in their tractor to encourage foraging.
     
  4. BlueBetween

    BlueBetween Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put food out with mine, but when I give them grass or whatever from the yard, they go to town on that instead. I think it's important that they get enough protein while they are growing - so, unless they are finding a lot of bugs, I'd put some out for them.
     
  5. catchthewind

    catchthewind Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I never did, in a very similar situation to yours (almost identical in fact). I made sure they had lots of time to eat before and after going out though, and learned how to check the crop to make sure they were full. We were also often out gardening and made sure to throw them any weeds or worms.

    Now that they're out in the coop, the first week we mostly kept them locked up and went through an entire feeder's worth of food. Refilled the food and around that time started letting them free range (though now they do have access to feed during the day too). It's been over two weeks and the feeder is still at least a third full, so they're definitely managing to find the majority of their own food.
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    IMO, eight week old chicks need food available to them at all times. Even when free ranging or in a tractor.
     
  7. catchthewind

    catchthewind Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just reread your post and I should clarify that my chicks were never outside for 8hours in their little tractor. They were pretty clear when they wanted to come in too. Maybe if I'd put food they would have been happier for longer.
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Oh yes!!! Even my free range hens are offered feed, which they eat MUCH less of when there's plenty of grass and bugs. Your babies are still growing and need all the nutrition possible!
     
  9. Sinfonian

    Sinfonian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2011
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    Thank you all for your great thoughts and hey Blue Between, still love that coop and ladder!

    Today I will give them food. However, I've noticed in the two days they've been out they hardly touch the weeds I throw them, or are in the ground. Worms on the otherhand... hehe.

    Thanks!
     

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