How do you get them to forage?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Cindy2348, Sep 13, 2009.

  1. Cindy2348

    Cindy2348 Out Of The Brooder

    58
    0
    39
    Jul 31, 2009
    Oxford, Nova Scotia
    My meaties are three weeks old and have been outside for a week and still won't forage! Any ideas on how to get them to do so?
     
  2. lilmouthy

    lilmouthy Out Of The Brooder

    80
    0
    29
    Jul 15, 2009
    Alabama
    How much are you feeding them? When mine were younger,and I didn't know any better(I say this because I have never planned on eating mine...mine have always been for pets)I was feeding mine all the time,so of course they didn't forage. Why do all that work when you get food from the feeder? After reading so much on here how if you want to keep these guys as pets,you have to only feed them a small amount,I cut waay back on their feed. Now that they only get fed once in the AM and once in the PM,They pretty much forage off an on all day. Now when it gets really hot out you'll find them under our shed cooling off,but other than that,they forage just like any other chicken.
     
  3. Cindy2348

    Cindy2348 Out Of The Brooder

    58
    0
    39
    Jul 31, 2009
    Oxford, Nova Scotia
    Mine are now only fed for 12 hours a day. They do not have access to food during the whole 12 hours either and am doing the no food for the first hour they are out but they are still not eating grass or anything. I can offer them treats and they show no interest. We just moved them into a much larger pen with oodles of space to run around so we will see if they start to show some more interest.
     
  4. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

    4,793
    387
    281
    Mar 19, 2009
    I am going to sound like a curmudgeon here, but if you want a chicken that forages don't get Cornish X broilers. That is not what they were bred or designed to do. Get some of the other broiler breeds like freedom rangers or something that is a little more active instead. Getting a coop potato like a Cornish X to forage is a little like getting my brother-in-law off the couch. It can be done, but, in my humble opinion, it really isn't worth it.
     
  5. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    10,884
    20
    291
    Jul 17, 2009
    A new vegatable: coop potato. Sounds less than appetizing.
     
  6. jenjscott

    jenjscott Mosquito Beach Poultry

    3,701
    12
    223
    May 24, 2008
    Southeast Arkansas
    I would let them go hungry until instincts kick in and they start foraging. After the first time or two, they will know what's going on. Believe my, they are not going to starve, they will find something to process! I'm not talking about a starvation program. just don't feed them at all one morning and see how long it takes. So you have another more active chicken you could put in there to get them started?
     
  7. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've never had my Cornish X's eat anything but their food. Not a single blade of grass.
     
  8. lilmouthy

    lilmouthy Out Of The Brooder

    80
    0
    29
    Jul 15, 2009
    Alabama
    Yep,if they get hungry enough,they'll look for their own feed. When I feed mine,they really don't get a whole lot. I'll put it to you this way,with in 5 minutes of feeding mine,they are finished. That's all they'll get until about 6 PM. Mine eat grass,weeds,insects,flower seeds...just like any other chicken. They even go to the drive way and eat small rocks/sand. But,if you are planning on eating yours,I can see where you can't cut back on their feed like I do mine. Just wanted to point out to the ones saying they will NOT forage,YES they do...unless mine are some really strange ones.
     
  9. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

    4,793
    387
    281
    Mar 19, 2009
    Quote:I attribute the term to Gail Damerow in Storey's Guide to Backyard Chickens. It fits. And I think my coop potatoes are yummy.
     
  10. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,305
    16
    221
    Apr 29, 2007
    Ohio
    Yep, let them sit without food for a while. It won't take them long to figure out that those things moving in the grass over there actually taste good.... along with those mixed salad greens.

    It always reminds me of the movie Madagascar with the circus animals... when they get tossed into the wild.... It's kind of like that with cornish x's as they are clueless when they hit pasture and it's almost like they are afraid of a little bug that crawls by as almost to say... "you expect me to eat that"

    The best results to get them to forage in my opinon.... I just learned this with the last batch of chickens I did. So I'm letting you in on a secret here... What I did was I didn't feed them at all during the day and I lifted the tractor off of the ground... let them roam all day and turst me they did roam as they ARE chickens... no matter how many people try to say they are freaks of nature and all the other bs that may come with them.... bottom line the instincs havn't changed, they are still a chicken.

    So with it being daylight, their instincs tell them to look for food... However when they are looking for the prepared meal they are so used to getting they stumble accross all kinds of tastey treats on the way. Now when the sun goes down put a light in the tractor and let them eat all night (feed) Let their twelve hours of feeding be at night and their twelve hours of rest be in the day.

    Don't worry about letting them sleep twelve hours as they will do fine and get their cat naps when they want.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by