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Free range, how much feed do they need?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by 5acresandadream, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. 5acresandadream

    5acresandadream In the Brooder

    Oct 31, 2016
    North Eastern USA
    I've started letting my girls free range durning the day, I throw them snacks throughout the day to keep the from wandering too far. My question is, if they free range all day, how much feed do I need to give them when its evening and they go back in their pen? I have 12 all together.

  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    It's best just to let them decide. Just put the feeder out for them to eat what they need to fill their needs. With free ranging it is impossible to know for sure what they will find from day to day to eat. With twelve hens they will eat between three and four pounds of feed a day. So if you put that amount out for them they will be sure to have enough. And you will see how much they are finding on their range by how much is left. Unless you are in a tropical climate, that will vary from season to season.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ljc01

    Ljc01 Songster

    Jun 5, 2016
    Nipomo, Ca
    I agree. My 8 birds free range all day. I have 3 feeders that I keep full and they eat what ever they want.
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Feed should be accessible all day long.
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    There is more than one way to raise chickens, and not all folks keep a feeder full of dry feed in front of their birds 24/7. One reason not to do so is it encourages rats and mice, as well as other free loaders. My birds get fermented feed. Depending on the day, and the free range opportunities, I may let them out to range, and not feed them until mid morning or even late afternoon. Sometimes, if it's a rainy day, or for what ever reason they don't get to free range, I will feed them in their run in the morning, and again late afternoon.

    There is nothing wrong with your feeding regimen. How have your bird's crops looked? I'd suggest that you put out an amount of feed that they will clean up in 20 - 30 minutes. Keep track of how much that is, and that can be your baseline. Of course, sometimes the goodies on the range may not be as plentiful, so they will need more. Observation, particularly of their crop condition as they head into the end of the day will be helpful. When giving feed in a limited time frame, IMO, it's important to have more than one feeding station so the bottom of pecking order girls don't get left out. But as long as you put out enough so the bullies get their crops full and wander off, leaving feed behind so the lesser birds get their fill also, all is good. I'm a huge fan and advocate of fermented feed. If you haven't tried it, I suggest that you give it some consideration.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Kimberly4403

    Kimberly4403 Chirping

    May 18, 2015
    I have a bowl of fermented feed that i take out in the morning.. Sometimes this lasts them until early evening and sometimes i have to top up midday it just depends on if there are any kitchen scraps and how long they get out for free range time... I always add another small biwl in the coop over night just incase there hungry when they come inside at night or incase i forget to wakeup at crack of dawn to let them out
  7. Weehopper

    Weehopper Songster

    Feb 26, 2015
    I feed my girls twice a day (morning & evening). They free range all day, every day. I have started feeding on the ground. I was using a tub of food that I'd set out, but discovered I was feeding more squirrels, mice, and rats, than chickens, that way. So now, I toss out feed and watch them eat. They keep getting their food until they are done, and walk away. I only have 8 hens, so it doesn't take that long. By moving the spot where I toss the food, around, I avoid creating bare spots in the yard. So far, I am using a lot less feed than I was.
    1 person likes this.

  8. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Crowing

    Jul 26, 2016
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    My girls have feed available 24/7 in their coop in a hanging feeder. No rodents or other pests in 4 months in a raised coop with the ramp to get inside under the coop. My girls chase anything squirrel size and smaller that come into their 500 square foot pen.[​IMG]GC[​IMG] I close the door to the outside and raise the ramp at night. So no worries about pests after dark.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Around here, bears will tear apart coops just to get to feed left in there. It's not just rodents that are attracted to chicken feed.
  10. ShanandGem

    ShanandGem Songster

    Feb 16, 2016
    I had bears drag a bag of scratch out of the carport into the driveway and then leave it there. I guess my bears are picky eaters. They did the same with a bag of BOSS.

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