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Non - Free Ranging Chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by 3sacrowd, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. 3sacrowd

    3sacrowd In the Brooder

    Apr 4, 2011
    My girls do not free range because we have a lot of predators. Also, our yard is not very sunny and the way it is situated, we do not have grass. Lived here 12 years and never owned a lawn-mower... I digress.

    My neighbor does not use fertilizer or weed killer or anything else on her lawn. I got a big bag of grass clippings from her and I'm wondering how much is too much to give to the girls. They have four suet baskets that I put lettuce and other treats in and I filled up two of them. They were thrilled to see real grass. Poor things. I know they are deprived...

    Thoughts? How much grass is too much? Will they self regulate for this just like feed or anything else?


  2. kizanne

    kizanne Songster

    Mar 28, 2011
    Tallahassee, FL
    I don't know what would be too much but the running wisdom I've read is that you need to cut it up with scissors. If they get it themselves from the ground they have a natural tearing action and the roots help them 'cut' it up. If they get too many long pieces they can get impacted crop.
  3. citychickx6

    citychickx6 Songster

    May 14, 2011
    So far mine self regulate. I give mine the trimmings too. For 6 19 week pullets I put in 4 large handfuls yesterday and there is still a lot of it on the ground. They were happy to have it and yet left a LOT. Next time I am going to try 1/2 cup per hen and see how it goes.
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    They will gorge themselves if they have a lot of competition for the grass I have found, but then settle out with self-regulation. Make sure you offer grit since they are not free-ranging so they can properly digest treats/grass/seeds/whole grains size #3 cherrystone for grown chickens.

    Chop the grass with yard scissors to 2-3 inches long at most to prevent impacted crop and they will be so much healthier with the fresh greens in their diet.

    Congratulations on a wonderful supply of condensed sunshine for your girls! I too feed grass clippings every day or so - I cut mine with yard scissors unless it was mowing day recently!
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  5. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Songster

    Sep 6, 2011
    Lancaster, PA
    Quote:That's right!

    Mine are all pastured and can eat grass whenever, so therefore however much they want, but, it since it is more of a "treat" to yours if you provide it free-choice they will probably gorge themselves as much as possible, and may start pulling each others feathers to make up for the lack of protein.

    I would either feed a limited amount or gradually provide it to them more and more until it isn't a "treat" anymore and then they should regulate themselves.

    Grass clippings are great (and so are leaves) to put in their run for them to scratch through. It also keeps the runs smelling nicer because their poop gets turned in and it turns out excellent compost!

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