Food deprivation?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Daniellex2, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. Daniellex2

    Daniellex2 New Egg

    9
    0
    9
    Nov 3, 2015
    Someone told me to deprive my flock of food once in a while to make them forage for bugs etc. more. That seems stupid to me, but what do you think? I feed them 5-scratch, non-gmo layer feed, fermented barley and wheat, and give them some dried mealworms and mashed boiled eggs once in a while. They seem to eat what they need and then forage most of the day.
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    7,564
    2,055
    416
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    NO! NO! They need their base balanced feed available all the time, and then other stuff as treats, and free ranging for bugs and plants and whatever. Mary
     
  3. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,965
    290
    148
    Feb 7, 2016
    Saint Louis, MO
    You're right, it's stupid. :rolleyes:
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    18,908
    6,343
    526
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    Before you go calling someone's practices stupid because they differ from yours, better get the whole context of the conversation. If a flock has abundant free range opportunities, as well as widely diversified range, and it is the right time of the year, and the right climate, they can derive a lot of their feed needs from free range. As a matter of fact, in the right circumstances, a flock of chickens will snub the feed dish, and hardly touch it. It would make sense to feed them LATER in the day, to encourage free ranging. In this way, you can find out just how much of their needs are being met by YOUR particular free range opportunity. Obviously, if chickens are kept in a small manicured back yard, there is no way they can meet their needs through free ranging. Under these circumstances, it would be poor management to limit their feed.
     
    2 people like this.
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    20,836
    4,056
    421
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    For most breeds, withholding feed is not necessary to encourage them to forage. For meat birds, it might be, though. It's the breeds that are intended for meat purposes, like Cornish Cross, that need their feed restricted.
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    7,564
    2,055
    416
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I'm happy to keep my feeders full, because my birds want to eat at first light when they get up, and I'm not letting them free range that early in the morning. They get out to eat in my woods and pastures later in the morning, and have no problem wanting the good stuff out there. In winter they eat much more out of the feeders, in summer they forage all day. Mary
     
  7. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,965
    290
    148
    Feb 7, 2016
    Saint Louis, MO

    And if the OP had said "delay their food" instead of "deprive them of food" then my statement would have been much more lenient. I have seen WAY too many emaciated animals of all types to EVER encourage that practice for a non-medical need. It is really difficult to bring an animal back once it's been starved, and absolutely heart-breaking when you try and fail.
     
  8. Mini Meat

    Mini Meat Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think "deprive" may be a bit of a harsh recommendation. Regulate might be a better choice.

    I have a wide variety of forage options for my chickens. I give my birds a 5 minute feeding of soaked/fermented oats or wheat in the a.m., to give them the energy to get out and forage all day long and then free choice pellets about 30 minutes before bed so they can top off if they had a less than successful day. They usually take advantage of the a.m. feed, though some just head out to work. Often they are full up by the p.m. and just go to bed without any.

    If the weather is poor or very hot I may give them more time at the feeder.

    Works for me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  9. Urban Flock

    Urban Flock Chillin' With My Peeps

    231
    14
    70
    Sep 17, 2014
    Southern Oregon
    x2
     
  10. Daniellex2

    Daniellex2 New Egg

    9
    0
    9
    Nov 3, 2015
    Thank you!!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by