I think I got chicken happy and chose the wrong breed


Nov 19, 2018
I was reading through the forums, and a member said that his chickens were great foragers, so I went to my search engine to see if mine were, which brought me to an old thread here. But I didn't want to resurrect it so I'm sorry if this is redundant....

I'm looking for sustainability, so I bought orpingtons, for the meat/eggs/broody aspect, but many of you say that they eat a lot of feed, and are not good foragers. While I'd like chickens with a decent amount of meat, I've realized that foraging and egg production are more important to me. In the other thread, some of you said game birds? I'm not breed savvy, so I'm not sure what they are, lol. Dominiques and RIR I think were mentioned too ?

I had planned on feeding my chickens largely on foraging, with supplemental feed if need be, but it sounds like orpingtons don't fit that bill.... So now I'm not sure what to do.
I have 4 orpingtons and 2 Jersey giants and they all forage my large yard well and unless I keep them cooped up in the run, don't eat much feed. I had less than 1/4 of a 25# bag of feed left and added some crushed egg shell and a handful of kelp powder and that lasted for nearly a month. We had a really hard cold and ice spell and they didn't want to roam for 2 or 3 days and that's when I noticed the feed bucket go down much at all. Otherwise they're eating bugs and scratching through fall leaves and only come back to the run for a drink.
I think a lot depends on how the birds are raised. If they grow up penned up and only learn to eat from a feeder, they won't forage as well. I spread a little feed on the floor of my brooder for the chicks to scrounge for. I haven't been able to free-range much, but when the chickens are let out, they do head for the leaf piles under the bushes, the garden or other weedy areas.
Could be. Do you have a picture?

They're still in the brooder, so all I have are chick pics, lol. But it says in the specifications of the breed on the site that they are English. They appear to prefer scratching though, so idk. I still plan to add some variety to my flock either way.... hopefully foraging, occasionally broody layers.

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