Free range...how much layer feed is required to supplement?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Jeffross1968, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    I have 4 (or 6) hens and 1 (or 3, LOL) roosters, who free range for about 10 to 12 hours daily. Most of their awake time. I also have free choice feeders of layer pellets and crushed oyster shell (separately) available to them in the coop day and night. We also feed them kitchen scraps, that include veggie leftovers that they share with the compost bin, and even leftover meals that would probably otherwise end up in trash, like veggie soup (they mostly pick out the good stuff) and even pasta. We also throw them old bread, occasional corn cobs, melon rinds, and handfuls of bird seed that we use in our bird feeders....pretty high in protein, but it's fed them to them rarely. There are other things I'm sure that I'm forgetting...

    Anyway, we stopped at a neighbors house today...they've got a flock of maybe 20 or so birds, including a bunch of layers and some newish birds that looked to be maybe 6 weeks old? Guessing. They basically get let out in the morning and locked up at night. I asked if they are fed anything to supplement whatever they eat in free range. She said that they mostly give them table scraps and every once in a while a little layer food, though what I saw was a few ounces in a tiny bowl inside a the coop that apparently only gets used at night.

    So I'm wondering...how nutritional, for egg layers, is free ranging. I've been going through maybe 10-15 lbs a week, give or take, for our 7 birds of pellets, even though they spend most of all their day time hours free ranging. Am I providing them with more than they need? Should I cut them off from layer during the day somehow, and force free range grazing? What's the popular thought on the matter? Thanks!
     
  2. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

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    I don't feed my birds at all when they free range, they eat what they need outside.
     
  3. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    Quote:So no feed at all, unless...what? If there is a period of time where they can't go out and free range?
     
  4. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

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    Quote:So no feed at all, unless...what? If there is a period of time where they can't go out and free range?

    When fall comes and theres not as much grass and bugs around, or if we're going away and they have to be penned up. I found that they wasted just as much as they ate if not more so I just took the feeder away.
     
  5. MommaOrp

    MommaOrp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 6, 2011
    Derbyshire, England
    My peeps are starving if they don't get their morning feed (i have over 20 birds not including chicks). Using a 1 litre container, i throw them 2 tub full's of layers pellets. They then get dinners leftover's, fresh fruit or veg scraps and peelings plus they free range 12 - 15 hours in the day. I'm unsure as to correct amounts either but my guys seem happy with this, any less and i know their not!! they shout at me!! [​IMG]
     
  6. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    THAT is very interesting...we live in the mountains, basically in the woods. Lots of bugs and greens to eat everywhere. Yet, they return during the day, often, and eat pellets. Hrm...
     
  7. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

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    York PA
    I leave food out for my flock at all times. When they are free ranging, the amount they eat is much less but I like leaving food out just in case they didn't get enough during their foraging. Call me a worrier, but I like to make sure they are not going hungry. [​IMG]
     
  8. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

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    Quote:I noticed that they wandered further to get the food, but we also live on a farm so they would be able to clean up any spilt grain.
     

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