FREE RANGERS - How does winter impact their foraging?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mtn Laurel, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    I'm new to backyard chickens and this will be my first winter with the girls. I use a modified free range method where I use temporary fencing to give them a large area to chew on. I then reconfigure the fence when they've eaten the area down. I'm in the woods with fox, coons, coyote, hawks, and even bear so I really don't want to just let them roam unattended which is why I don't let them completely free range.

    BUT, what about winter? There won't be the grass and weeds that we now have. How does this impact their foraging? Do you see an increase in their commercial feed requirements? Or do they find other stuff in winter that I'm not considering?

  2. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 28, 2011
    I sprout grains all winter long. I cover my run in plastic, so they use it all winter long as well. We put up extra roosts in the run and the coop. Last winter we had pecking issues. The roosts seem to eliminate the problem so far. I have much more room then what the space requirements were, so space wasn't an issue.

    I just bought 100 pounds total(oat/wheat) and I have about 20lbs of alfalfa to sprout. We eat sprouts ourselves, so we eat it too. I'll sprout whole corn and anything that sprouts without molding. Sunflower seeds will mold on me, I plant them in the summer months where they forage.

    Also, I just started giving table scraps as long as its not high in salt or has onions. I cook everything from scratch, so I know what's in my food. I use white whole wheat flour, which is a less grainy whole wheat.
  3. off-grid hen

    off-grid hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2011
    Upstate NY
    It gets very cold and snowy here, so no forage for my birds in the winter. Yes, they eat more commercial feed. But I couldn't stand the yellow yolks. So I bought a cabbage twice a week to hang in the coop. (Warning- this will make their droppings a strange color!)

    I also got them a flock block to peck at. I would put it out only for a while each day. I also made them suet. I bought beef suet from the store. Melt it in a large skillet and add black oil sunflower seeds, scratch grains, and layer pellets. Sometmes I would also add shredded/pureed carrots, flax seds, chopped dried fruits, etc. Pour into plastic containers and let harden. Store in the fridge. Then you can pop one onto the floor of the coop on cold days. I don't put the flock block out on the days I give them the suet.

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