Free Range Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Lavonne, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. Lavonne

    Lavonne Out Of The Brooder

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    Do I need to supply free ranging chickens with oyster shells and grit or do they naturally find it on their own?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2009
  2. DIMBY

    DIMBY Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oyster shell is for the calcium, mine are free-ranged and I give em the OS crumbles - or smashed egg shells - with their salad each afternoon.
     
  3. mulia24

    mulia24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    when my chicken free ranged, i only fed them cracked corn now too many feed.
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Oyster shell yes, as they're not likely to find many sources of calcium while foraging.
    Grit, no. They'll find plenty of that on their own.
     
  5. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Overrun With Chickens

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    Lizards calcium, frogs calcium, mice calcium, bugs protein tiny bit of calcium, some plants some calcium.

    I usually only put out a calcium supplement if I see a soft egg or start getting porous eggs. Very very rare.

    Grit they do get all on their own.

    The amount of calcium a bird gets totally free ranging depends on it's foraging skills. Soft, easily broken or porous eggs means your birds are not good foragers and they require supplementation.

    Though I've had one standard hen have problems occassionally, out of 20 layers, even the silly sizzles have good hard eggs without supplementation.
     
  6. Lavonne

    Lavonne Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks everyone. I have 32 chickens (4 roosters) - the majority of which are heritage: Dominque, English Standard, Wyandotte, La Fleche, Lakenvelders, Long Crowers, Norwegian Jaerhon, Red Caps, and Thai. It's my understanding that these are better at foraging than more domesticated varieties. Does anyone know for sure? Mine are all about 5 months old and just now venturing further out on the acreage available to them.

    No eggs yet, so I don't know the strength of their shells.
     
  7. Harrietsmum

    Harrietsmum Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I leave a container of shell hanging in the feeding area. The birds just help themselves. The container is just a two litre juice plastic bottle, cut a round hole in the side, tie string around the neck or top of handle, then hang up.
     
  8. DIMBY

    DIMBY Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you know why they might be better at foraging? I have two Aussies, two RIRs, two Black Stars and two mutts, all seem to get along just fine pecking, eating and chasing any bug they come across. And, hopping for berries and such.
     
  9. Lavonne

    Lavonne Out Of The Brooder

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    No, I have no idea. I've heard they are the original chickens brought over with the pilgrims. It could all be a bunch of stories, though. But, if they are closer to the original "toughness" of chickens that survived, then maybe they are more instinctual about food, etc.,? I think it's probably silly. I'm hoping they are good at protecting themselves or hiding from predators - and not just a target for the birds and beasts we have around here. I have a covering over their small yard, but they do roam outside of it and into the brush and fields.
     
  10. DIMBY

    DIMBY Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The best protection against a predator is a shotgun. Barring that, however, a good rooster will help. Until I rehomed my three, they were extremely good about getting the hens to cover when they heard as much as the cawing of a crow....
     

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