free ranging

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by my3jsons, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. my3jsons

    my3jsons Songster

    Feb 15, 2010
    Do they eat less feed when they are free ranging? Are they healthier that way?
    We have a run but let them out to roam often. Just wondering what everyone thought and if we should have put up a fence at all.
  2. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Songster

    Apr 13, 2010
    I keep my girls in their run until about an hour before they go to roost. I then let them out to freerange and my dh and I supervise as we have hawks that like to cruise through in hopes of an easy meal. I would never let them be by themselves as we have too many predators. I go through about 2 quarts of feed every other day for my 8 girls. This is in addition to freeranging, being in their run(which is moved every day) and of course goodies. They almost mugged me for my peanut butter sandwich the other night when I let them out to freerange and sat down to eat!!! Like I said, your main concern will be what predators are around because it only takes a momentary lapse to lose a bird. My girls are very healthy, no parasites of any kind and have nice, shiny feathers. I think it is how well you care for them in general that makes a difference.
  3. atimme

    atimme Songster

    Feb 3, 2010
    You'll go through less feed relative to how good the range is, ie: forage quality and bugs available. The diversity of diet makes healthier chickens and tastier eggs as well, you will notice a difference in color and texture of the eggs as well.
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Well, chickens are little pigs with feathers, so when they're growing they eat a lot. Once they reach mature sizes, the amount of feed they consume stops growing exponentially. And if birds range freely, they do eat much less feed.

    They get lots of niacin (bugs have niacin) and protein and other good stuff, which is healthy for them.

    It's simply amazing how bug-free my back yard is, now. I have to put boards down and leave 'em there for a couple days, then turn 'em over to even find bugs... practically.

    Oh, I can still find earwigs in rolled up newspaper or under boxes and other hidden places - but earwigs are like candy to chickens! (Except that they're better for 'em than candy is for us.)

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