Foraging for chickens that can't free range?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by deborahca, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. deborahca

    deborahca Out Of The Brooder

    I'm wondering if the equivalent of foraging toys are available for chickens? Mine will be confined to a relatively small covered run most of the time and won't be able to forage normally. I'm familiar with "foraging toys" for parrots and am wondering if it is practical to feed chickens in a such a way that they exercise those foraging instincts to get at their normal meals -- while still keeping the feed clean and wholesome.

    I did read a couple of old threads on toys for chickens and got some ideas there, but not too much that would sub in for a bucket feeder.
     
  2. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've seen a lot of ideas regarding plastic litre bottles- poke holes in em and fill with grains/scratch. Chickens have the "scratch" at it, kick it around, and roll the food out. Real foraging would consist of them finding grubs, worms, beetles, etc. Maybe the odd mouse or frog :p I'm not sure how you could simulate that. Try a rotted wood pile in the run and start a colony of meal worms on it?
     
  3. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Save the money and just buy them a small square of alfalfa. You want a 3rd or higher cutting, small stems, lots of leaves, sweet smelling (don't want a tanginess to it) and tight. Put the bale in the run without cutting the strings. They will spend hours "foraging" for the leaves and the occasional grasshopper makes their day. It will keep their yolks bright orange as a bonus.
     
  4. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just happened upon some remarks, somewhere deep within a thread that I've now lost, that there's a method of making the floor of the run an active compost pile. The chickens can actively turn it and eat the bugs and scraps hidden within. Do a little digging on the forums, you're bound to find some better info about it! Wish I knew where I found that post...
     
  5. Daniale

    Daniale Out Of The Brooder

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    I have read about doing the active compost thing, or doing the deep litter method and throwing treats into it for the chickens to scratch up, also hanging greens like cabbage, kale, etc...for them. You could also sprout some grains and bring that in for them too eat.
     

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