Free range feeding

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by JakePerry, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. JakePerry

    JakePerry New Egg

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    Jul 21, 2016
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    Hello, my name's Jake and I'm from Oregon. I've raised chickens before, but never done free range. My brother and I are wanting to start an egg buisness, we're wanting to start with 100 Gold Sex Links and 100 Rhode Island Reds. We've decided that we want to do free range, but givin that that we've never done it, I need to know about feed. I've seen some people just spread out meal worms to make sure they have food, but would that be enough? Do I still give them feed? If so, how much? Thank you in advance!
     
  2. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Meal worms aren't feed they're a treat.

    Even ranging birds should have free access to a layer pellet, or a flock raiser with more protein and oyster shell.

    They need the feed to maximize egg laying. Ranging is too up and down by season and what is available.
     
  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Greetings from Kansas, Jake, and :welcome. Great to have you with us! Wow! You are starting out large scale! Actually, laying hens need a balanced layer ration. Free ranging supplements this with insects, seeds, and greenery, but for the hens to lay consistently and to keep egg quality high they will still need the aforementioned layer ration. Laying hens won't overeat so if they have free choice feed and their ranging you will be all set. As you are starting with a jumbo sized flock, you might check out the Learning Center here https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center
    It will give you invaluable information as you start up your operation. Best of luck on your business venture. :)
     
  4. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Forgot to add - you would go broke feeding meal worms unless your chickens were laying golden eggs! ;). Also 200 birds will quickly exhaust whatever was available on their range and you'd have hungry birds. If you have a grain elevator or animal feed plant near you they can likely make you a layer ration. With that many birds, bulk feed is the only way to go! Again...best of luck!
     
  5. westes

    westes Out Of The Brooder

    Why wouldn't meal worms be a substantial part of the daily caloric need, if you could afford it? They contain incredibly amounts of both protein and fat and are very dense foods.
     
  6. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Chickens require a balanced diet and whilst protein is an essential component of that diet, there are many other nutrients required. Commercial / proprietary feed provides a balanced diet. The importance of providing such a diet is important, in general, but certainly it is fundamental for running a business such as the one described.
     
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  7. westes

    westes Out Of The Brooder

    I agree with all of that, but none of that is proof that live insects are not a fantastic food and mainstay part of a chicken's diet? You could feed live insects and supplement with commercial feed and would then not have those issues?

    I do agree with the idea that if you do not use a commercial feed, you have to be concerned with vitamins, minerals, etc. All of that could get complicated.
     
  8. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Then you answered your own question.
     
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