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"new to free range" hens stopped eating layer feed

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by highwindsfarm, May 3, 2009.

  1. highwindsfarm

    highwindsfarm Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 6, 2009
    My hens have gone from a completely indoor coop to a free range from 7am to dark, then chicken tractor at night situation about 1 month ago. Within the last few weeks they are eating less and less of the layer ration in the chicken tractor that was always their staple in the barn. But, I'm getting even more eggs than before (they faithfully come back during the day to lay) and they look and act great. My 2.5 yr old Golden Comet went from 3 eggs a week to 6! They do have free access to grit and oyster shell in the tractor. Has anyone else seen this with their hens?
  2. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    I know my chicks majorly dropped off starter consumption (and waste [​IMG] ) when they started living outside and eating lots of grass.
  3. Granolamom

    Granolamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2008
    I usually let mine out, when we're home, which is just for a few hours on some days, and all day on others. The longer they free-range, the less layer feed they eat, because they find so much other (better tasting) stuff outside their run. Don't worry about it, it's a good thing! If it bothers you, that they eat a lot less of the feed, just limit their free-range time to several hours a day. When they're back in their run, they'll eat what's there.
  4. Biddieacres

    Biddieacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2008
    Yes, I saw that too. They are so happy out getting full on bugs and grass and seeds and every other thing they have no interest in the pellets. Come winter though mine started to get a little annoyed at not being able to free range and of course resorted back to the pellets. Once mine got a taste of the good life they never are happy in the run again.
  5. highwindsfarm

    highwindsfarm Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 6, 2009
    These hens were devoted layer ration eaters indoors but now they are EVERYWHERE on my horse farm all day and seem to be getting all they need. I was so used to doing it "by the book" but if they're happy and laying great I should just be glad my costs are down, right?
  6. highwindsfarm

    highwindsfarm Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 6, 2009
    GranolaMom- What a cute "kid with a hen" avatar! My kids just love our hens.
  7. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    Do not worry about your chickens if they are free ranging. If you have the layer available they will eat it if they need it. Many of us that free range never use package feed till winter and some not even then if they do not get snow.

    I would say proof in in production which you say is now up since free ranging. They are getting a much more balance diet now than from a bag. Eggs are much healthier for you also.
  8. highwindsfarm

    highwindsfarm Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 6, 2009
    Thanks for the imput. Not many people around here free range so I figured I should check with BYC.
  9. LauraM

    LauraM Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 7, 2009
    Everett, WA
    Thanks for this post! I just started letting my chicks out all day and noticed they hardly ate any feed. I am happy to not refill it so often and they seem super happy to find their own food.
  10. Flying Burrito

    Flying Burrito New Egg

    May 5, 2009
    Salem, Oregon
    My chicks are 6 weeks old, when is a good time to let them out free range that the cats wont get them?

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