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my chickens dont eat much feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by monkey wrench, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. monkey wrench

    monkey wrench New Egg

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    Sep 16, 2011
    hi,

    we're new to chickens. we have 10 hens that are 6 months old, and 1 roo 4 months old. they have access to 12 acres of california foothill to roam on. they do not seem to be interested in eating thier feed. we have bought layer crumbles and layer pellets. if i toss some layer on the ground they just wander off. the hopper full of layer in their coupe hardly gets touched. they'll eat some mash which we add layer to, but what they realy enjoy is scratch or other treats, which they will gorge themselvs on. we're wondering if this is "normal". i did not think chickens could forage this high percentage of their diet. if its not normal, any suggetsions.

    thanks
     
  2. brahmakid11

    brahmakid11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sitting on the toilet
    do you throw corn crumbles on the ground mine go crazy for it [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. Cpprpnny19

    Cpprpnny19 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As soon as mine were allowed to go out and roam all day, the feed
    consumption went down drastically!

    They see me and run up to see if I have any goodies, like their cracked
    corn/oats scratch, and they do enjoy the layer pellets in a bowl that I add water
    to to make a mash, but they are not eating much in the way of pellets.

    Good thing as they keep going up a buck/2 bucks a bag!!!!!!!!!!!


    Lynne [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    [​IMG] Welcome to the forum! [​IMG] Glad you joined us! [​IMG]

    With a set-up like yours, in decent weather, chickens can feed themselves. That's how my parents raised theirs. They never fed chickens unless there was snow on the ground. How well they do depends on the quality of forage. If they can find grass and weeds, grass and weed seeds, various creepy crawlies and flying insects, and maybe an occasional mouse, frog, or small snake, they can do very well. I think chickens that have to get out and get exercise working for their meal are healthier than couch potato chickens, lazing around eating processed feed. The eggs will have a little better variety of minerals and vitamins too. Plus you don't spend a fortune on chicken feed.

    The only downside I see to that is that you are more vulnerable to predators. But many of us raise them that way and have very few losses to predators. There are trade-offs to everything. I like raising them that way. I still keep feed available for them, but like others, my feed consumption goes way down when I free range them.
     
  5. AZBootsie

    AZBootsie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Lucky you!! 12 acres of green probably keeps them pretty full. [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Me- 1 acre of desert and a huge feed bill.
     
  6. AZBootsie

    AZBootsie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
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    [​IMG]
     
  7. hawcer

    hawcer Out Of The Brooder

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    with that much country side to wander around on, they are apparently finding plenty to eat.

    if you want them to eat their dinner(layer crumbles) lay off the snacks for awhile. They will eat it when they get hungry, but not if they are full of goodies. So until the crickets,worms, spiders etc are gone for the winter they might not be too hungry.
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    My girls eat very little layer feed during the nice months. I notice them eating more as colder weather begins setting in, when the grasshopper and other bugs begin to die off (or hibernate - whatever insects do) and the grass starts to die. Just enjoy the low feed costs for the warm months [​IMG]
     
  9. monkey wrench

    monkey wrench New Egg

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    Sep 16, 2011
    thanks for all the replies.

    i have never fed them corn crumbles, nor have i heard of them. if i find a small bag i'll try them.

    the predators are an issue. we have lost two hens. one a dog got and another by a cotote or fox. after that we picked up a roo. we hoped he'd keep a lookout and be protective. so far i'm less then impressed with his skills. i question his valor and his iq may be a bit low, even for a chicken.

    it sounds like this feeding behavior is normal for free range hens so i wont worry about it.
     
  10. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I really like my rooster. But he'd be the first to run for cover if a real predator came around...lol. He does give warning calls, but so did my lead hen before the roo came along. Some roos are self sacrificing heros and some roos aren't I guess [​IMG]
     

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