organic/free range

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Big_Red, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. Big_Red

    Big_Red Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 22, 2010
    i plan to free range my chickens in the day time, and coop them up at night. they will be in the woods, within 50 yards of pasture.

    will i need to supplement their feed (at least in winter if not all the time)?
    what is the cheapest way to get organic feed?
    where is the cheapest place to buy commercial organic feed?

  2. Tropical Chook

    Tropical Chook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2010
    Not sure how things are on your side, and with the breed of chickens you have, but I free range mine as well, and if I don't provide any supplemental food, they manage just fine. I do however still provide some feed for them, but it's usually just fresh produce - fruit and vegetable, meat scraps, and etc. I also give some corn and rice which still has the husks on, which we call paddy rice over here. They also get any left over cooked rice which they go loopy for [​IMG]

    Just yesterday I tossed out about two dozen chicken drumstick bones and it was funny to see how they were grabbing them and then running off in all directions. I also have a Rottweiler which is great with the birds, so with the birds running all over the place with the bones, my Rottweiler got to enjoy a tasty treasure hunt [​IMG] Bless her heart, she sleeps most of the day, and then at night she sits next to the coop keeping an eye on the birds. This she does every night, and she stays there the entire night out of her own free will. Maybe she knows the birds are worth protecting, because these humans know how to make them become tasty every now and then [​IMG]
  3. Big_Red

    Big_Red Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 22, 2010
    i assume by your screen name you dont get much cold weather? im a little jealous. i thought they would be fine without feed spring thru fall, and you've confirmed it. thank you.

    anybody got any colder climate advice? im in northeast texas. the ground freezes 3 or 4 times a year around these parts, and for just a few days at a time. i think i will need supplement at least in those times.

    how deep do the earthworms go in winter?
  4. Organics North

    Organics North Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    50 yards of pasture is not very much..How many birds do you plan on supporting on that amount of ground? My birds would turn that into barren dust in less than a season, especially in forested areas., if it were high quality deeply rooted grass land it would not be destroyed as quick.

    Regardless plan on having supplemental feed for them year around if you want a steady supply of eggs.
    Pasture just reduces the amount of feed they eat by some percentage.

    I keep 25 to 40 birds the free range without fences and cover 500 square yards in a usual day foraging. That's mostly high quality damp forest floor with deep leaf litter, and some small areas of open green pasture. The birds still eat several gallons of feed per day even though they free range. (Less when the range is prime, more when it is poor.)

    I make my own feed and buy in bulk twice a year.(Spring and fall planting time)... My costs for 80% organic feed are around $16 per 50lbs.... I can not help you out in TX.. Look regionally, look in farming areas where they plant crops.

    Last edited: Oct 26, 2010
  5. Big_Red

    Big_Red Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 22, 2010
    i think i could live with $16/50LBS as long as it is supplemental and not 100% of their diet, as in totally coop fed chickens. that gives me a starting point. thank you very much.

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