Free range

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Toddgordon, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. Toddgordon

    Toddgordon Just Hatched

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    So my 3 hens free range in our back yard . I have found earthworms, tossed some to them yet they nibble it and the move on to eat GRASS! Are my girls vegetarian? Whatbis up with this. Part of the reason we got them was to eat some bugs in our yard!
     
  2. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls BYC Fan Premium Member Project Manager

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    My Coop
    How old are they?
    Sometimes eating worms causes them to get worms! :barnie
    They know what is good to eat and what is not.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Worms are not "bugs" / insects. They will consume insects in preference to everything else. As insects become harder to get their consumption of feed and greens will increase accordingly.

    I have a group of birds being moved to yard around house for latter part of each day. Insects are super abundant yet they will also consume some greens in the form of tender shoots and buds. They go for a balance.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    How old are they and how long have they been outside? Sometimes it takes them a while to try a new type of food. It may be that all you need is some patience.

    Certain things like earthworms, slugs, or grasshoppers can transmit certain parasites to the chickens if that parasite is in your area to start with. I could give you TB if I have it and you don't, but since I don't have it I cannot give you TB. Same thing. If those parasites are present the chickens are going to find them anyway, whether you feed them any or not. If it is there they will get it no matter what I do so I don't worry about it. I feed them what I get out of the garden and let them find what they can.

    I butcher chickens all the time. When I do I cut the intestines open to look for worms. I have not found any yet and mine eat earthworms, slugs, and grasshoppers.
     
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  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I now have a bit more time so I'll tell a story. Several years back I had a bunch of 10-week-olds that had been free ranging for a few weeks. As I prepared corn from my garden for canning I collected a yogurt cup full of corn ear caterpillars. I dumped those worms onto a bare patch of ground close to the chicks.

    The chicks eyed those worms curiously. Very slowly and cautiously the braver ones started sneaking up on that pile of worms. Very slowly and cautiously. They got closer and closer. A worm moved! Run away! Run away! But not too far.

    It took a bit for them to collect themselves but once again they slowly and cautiously started creeping back toward that pile. They got closer and closer. A worm moved! Run away! Run away! This repeated four of five times. Eventually one brave cockerel got close enough and grabbed a worm. That's all it took, within 30 seconds that entire pile was gone.

    Sometimes chick or chicken TV is better than anything on cable, satellite, or antenna.
     
  6. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I let my girls out to free range 2 hours before sunset, weather permitting. They dig through falling leaves for bugs, grubs and worms. They also eat grass, weeds and other greens. They scratch through dirt, even eat dirt.
    I also hand feed a bug or moth I happen to catch to a lucky chicken. I don't offer them worms sense I read worms could be infected with parasites, soon after I put them outside. But I won't try to take away any they find, 20170527_182849.jpg . Omnivores they are. GC
     
  7. Erin80

    Erin80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our 5 eleven week old pullets free range all day. I've seen them eat the odd earthworm. I can't control what they're eating, so I don't worry about it too much.....they love free ranging!
     

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