Forage Simulation with Leaves!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cstronks, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For all of the urban chicken keepers or people who don't have huge yards, here is a great idea I just kind of put together before. Since there are a ton of leaves on the ground, I figured I might as well throw some into the coop. Other members have already done so as well, and it seems logical, so i did. They loved it...so then I thought about something. My birds don't get out a whole lot...probably an hour or two every other day, so I try to give them as many opportunities as possible. I realized that by throwing leaves in, and then sprinkling seeds, oats, and other little treats into the heap of leaves in the run, it creates a forage to keep the birds sharp and entertain them! They loved it. They kicked the leaves out of the way and ate up all the little snacks they could find. This went on for hours, and I only threw in one handful of oats and a handful of scratch seed. Since then, I've had my father toss in a handful of oats in the morning and afternoon. Sometimes when he comes home for lunch, he sees that the chickens are still digging around. I'm really pleased with this, and I feel like it has given my birds a chance to feel like they are free ranging more without actually being out!
     
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  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Good effort!

    Similar can be realized with various hays and some of those can be consumed directly by birds. Although not always ideal, you can also allow the birds to periodically access a compost heap to do a little bioturbation.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Love that word. Where did you come up with it?????
     
  4. jerseychicken

    jerseychicken Out Of The Brooder

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    It's in the dictionary [​IMG]

    Noun-the alteration and disturbance of a site by living organisms; the turning and mixing of sediments by organisms, as rodents

    I will admit that it is a pretty neat word!
    I never heard of it till now!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Some of the organisms I work with do it a lot and it can significantly impact some ecosystems.
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    ie: turn a patch of lawn into a moon scape.
     
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  7. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine free range all day. I did some raking out front and thought, "What the heck" and dumped the leaves into my garden. Not a lot of leaves in the back so they haven't ever seen them.
    My free range birds were afraid of the leaves! I tossed some mealworms in to encourage them. One of them started to scratch and the noise scared them. Off they went, running and flapping like someone touched them. [​IMG]
    They collected themselves and slowly, cautiously returned. But the wind kicked up and rustled a few leaves. More running and flapping and exiting the garden like rats abandoning a sinking ship. [​IMG]
    They'll eventually figure it out. Their skittish ways have made them good (touch wood) about avoiding predators but sometimes those girls are a bit much. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  8. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We don't have leaves...we have pine straw [​IMG]

     
  9. Flybybirds

    Flybybirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Love the idea of giving them hay but a little concerned that they may eat it and get compacted crops. What do you think?
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I use alfalfa and timothy based hays without issue although avoid rapid transition to it without ensuring free-choice access to more standard particulate fare until birds adapt. Also make certain birds have adequate grit. My limited difficulties with bound crops has always involved erratic feedings in terms of application and type.
     

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