Foraging

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by LazyGirl, May 22, 2008.

  1. LazyGirl

    LazyGirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 29, 2007
    I have free range chickens, but I feel as though they still eat mostly the feed that I give them. Is there a way to get them to eat more by foraging? Recently I have had to pen them in (about 1/4 acre for 30 chickens) because they were everywhere we didn't want them to be (in the garage, on the front porch, pooping up a storm!) So they have room to forage and several get out every day anyway. We move the pen every 2 weeks. Anyway, I raised a bunch of the pullets over this winter in MI, so they never had to forage because of the snow until they were 20 weeks or so.

    They are going through about 1 50 lb bag every 5-6 days (30 chickens). I buy organic feed and it actually is less $$ than the feed store stuff. I sell eggs so i promote them as free range, etc. I just thought they woundn't need so much supplementing! (It's pretty hard to make a buck when they eat so much!)

    I guess my question is, is this a reasonable amount to be feeding them? Or should they be foraging more. The 6 hens I had all last summer seemed to forage 100% and really didn't need much feed. These chix seem to wait til i feed them.

    They have access to food all day, should I wait until evening? Any tips?
     
  2. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 20, 2007
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    Chances are your pullets need more time to fiqure out all the feed they can find on their own.

    If one has a older bird to show them what's up, then that's a plus.

    Feed changes all the time for the free ranging flock, so maybe your flock will mature into a great diet as things grow and change.

    Patience is the key here, and they will do just fine.

    bigzio
     
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Try feeding in the evening. This kind of forces them to forage all day but they can still have a full belly to go to bed on, if they didn't find enough to eat.
     
  4. bluebirdfarm

    bluebirdfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    WHERE DO U BUY YOUR ORGANIC FEED ?
    i am looking for a source in west virginia , or maybe in amish land over in myld or nearby to me . i would drive to pick up a few hundred pounds , enuff to last me 6 more weeks for my jumbo XXXX > LO L , how many hundred pounds did i say )))))))))))))thesee things are PIGS that fly!!!
     
  5. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another, related question: Someone wants to buy a few of my hens and asked if they needed to be fed at all. In other words, he's a farmer and wants to know if they can forage 100%. I told him they could but they would stop laying eggs because they'd need more food. But does anyone know if they can survive by forage alone (RIRs)?
     
  6. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You can call Kremers Feed mill, or Kreamer or Kreamery, (I forget the spelling). They make organic feed and will tell you which feed stores they sell to on the east coast. They are in PA, i think.
     
  7. LazyGirl

    LazyGirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all the advice. I get my organic feed thru a friend who has a farmer friend in IN. I don't think he has a store or anything.

    Here is another ? My feed is fairly well ground, and about 1/2 of it is powdery, so they are very reluctant to eat it. Is it more efficient if the food is in bigger "pieces"? I like to sprinkle some around the ground to get them to scratch more, but then a lot of the food goes to waste.

    I will try to feed them in the evenings only, and maybe have to move the pen more. They are hardly even scratching! I guess they have to figure it out (they are birdbrains about laying eggs, too!)
     
  8. sara

    sara Title Needed Here

    [​IMG] My chickens are pigs. They will eat everything in sight, feed, snacks, and free range. [​IMG]
     
  9. LazyGirl

    LazyGirl Out Of The Brooder

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    I hear ya. Mine watch the house and every time we come out they come running. I feel like the pied piper! At least I can get them to follow me anywhere:D
     
  10. panner123

    panner123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2007
    Garden Valley, ca
    Fighure a chicken will eat about 1/3 pound of feed per day. So your 50 pound bag every 5 days is right on. They won't eat the powdery eat, that is just a waste. You might try mixing the powder with some eggs or something else they like.
     

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