how late in the year can I feed by ranging?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by TheMatador, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. TheMatador

    TheMatador Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2009
    Upstate, NY
    Hi All,
    Coming up on my first winter with chickens and guineas and wondering how late in the year I can expect them to sustain themselves by ranging. The flock has ranged all day, everyday since they were old enough and have fed themselves primarily this way all summer. They always had minimal grower available and a coffee can of scratch grains most days but have gotten by on foraging most of the time. (we are "reclaiming" a 1.5 acre property that is very overgrown, FULL of ticks, skeeters, etc. So there's plenty to go around.)

    Fall has moved in fast and cold this year (upstate, NY) and I have been steadily increasing the amount of feed and scratch grains they get. I've done this mostly in response to night time low temps as the coop is just getting fully winterized now and we've had nights in the 20's already.

    I want to keep them scratching as long as possible as we are getting a second wave of ticks right about now but I obviously dont want to starve/stress them. Are there guidelines/indicators I can use to decide when to start keeping the feeders full? When I do, they stuff themselves, then relax on the woodpile. Not a lot of ticks get eaten that way. So, as I said, I want to hold off as long as possible. Not to mention saving on feed cost. Thanks!
     
  2. Hen_House_Rocks!

    Hen_House_Rocks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 30, 2009
    I'm not an expert but here in Northern Missouri we have lots of bugs until the first hard frost. I'd expect it would be a similar situation in NY as well. As long as there is plenty of green grass and it hasn't frosted yet, I'd keep feeding a minimal amount of feed. Just keep an eye on them to be sure they seem healthy and happy.
     
  3. TheMatador

    TheMatador Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2009
    Upstate, NY
    Long past our first hard frost already. The cold moved in quick this year.

    Past few years have been relatively warm for this region and we've had ticks up until the snow got deep enough to stay for the year. Last year was cold but the previous year I was picking them off me (sorry for the graphic details) into December.
     
  4. Hen_House_Rocks!

    Hen_House_Rocks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 30, 2009
    Sounds like you have ticks the way Missourians have the dreaded mosquitoes!!
     
  5. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    Jun 15, 2008
    In Iowa bugs have already sharply dropped off and many plants are wilting. None of the fruits, berries, etc... are still around except winter hardy ones. There are a few weeds gone to seed and that's mostly it. Everything has stopped growing. Mine are on more like 10acres so they are still doing a pretty good job of finding supplements to their diet but I switched to a bigger feeder because I know pretty soon the feed in the coop won't last long. I think this year we will be up to a bag every other day in the main coop.
     
  6. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    I offer layer pellets freely, and mine still spend 99% of the day scratching the yard up. I swear, ranging them on the yard is the best thing ever! They always have full crops and I'm getting an egg from each pullet almost every day.

    I wonder what you're feeding that the chickens consider tastier than bugs? lol
     

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