Non FreeRange management!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by horseyjess, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. horseyjess

    horseyjess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2009
    SW Florida
    Ok so I have a coop of free range chickens. They are strictly my egg layers and some of the kids 4H chickens when they arent getting in shape (feather wise) for show. My freerange birds are HUGE heavy and healthy [​IMG]. Last spring we started buying different breeds and eggs to hatch. We have a bunch. But I have noticed that most of the birds are lighter and not as heavy as they should be. We have had freerange chickens for a long time. Never had any problems with weight most are actually quite plump. The chickens in the coops are not starving but I am having a hard time getting them to fill in all the way. I figured that would be true for the really heavy chickens as the Giant Cochins are not something that we have ever had before. I imagine even freeranging they would eat alot [​IMG]. But even the Polish seem a little lighter than normal and the others. They are all over 6 mos and we are feeding them Flock Raiser by Purina. I am staying away from the corn because a few of the girls chickens started to get that yellow tint to thier feathers. We also give them cut grass each coop usually once every week to week and a half. (A full lawnmower bag I am semi lazy there [​IMG]. ) We had a suggestion from the kids 4H leaders to give them horse poo. So once to twice a week they get a good scoop or two of horse poo. Thanks for any and all extra help [​IMG]!!
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Have you observed them with the horse dung? Do they actually eat it? I put many, many buckets of it on my garden last Fall before letting the chooks loose on it to till it for the Spring planting but I didn't notice them eating any of it. They scratched it out of my raised beds really well though....[​IMG]
  3. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 12, 2009
    I think free ranging makes them healthier, they get the nutrients they need and don't eat as much feed. They eat lots of bugs and such, high protein.
  4. kfacres

    kfacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2011
    back in the day, I noticed the same thing... my general egg layers in comparision to my 'breeders', would almost always been in lesser shape, and have poor hatching rates, as compared to the few general eggs I would throw in to fill the 'bator.. the key, is lacking minerals, vitamens, and most importantely protein in their diet.

    To suppliment my breeder birds, I mixed a seperate feeder for dry cat food to up the protein levels.. Almost imediately, my hatching rates skyrocketed.

    Now, I'm back at it again, but i've made up a custom mixed feed ration of 19-20% CP for my breeder chickens and guineas, and 16% for the turkeys (who I don't expect to beging laying until spring- but they're also free ranged to help lower feed costs).

    I'm going to be setting the first batch of eggs in the bator within 10 days, so we'll know then what the protocal will be.

    In your case, if your couped birds are smaller, and thinner, it's protein, almost guarentteed..
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011

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