Replacing "free range diet" in the winter

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kristen2678, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. kristen2678

    kristen2678 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2009
    North Berwick Maine
    My ladies have feed available at all times but usually only eat that after grazing in the yard most of the day. They also get a handfull of fruit and veggies each day. I assume in the winter they will just increase the amount of feed they eat since grass and bugs are not available, but what else can I give them to mimic the summer time free ranging diet??
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    You could buy crickets at the pet store, or grow your own mealworms?
  3. kristen2678

    kristen2678 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2009
    North Berwick Maine
    maybe hay/alph alpha??
  4. Chickapooh23

    Chickapooh23 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 31, 2009
    Corning OH
    Quote:They do go through more feed. But as long as the weather is not too cold mine still free range and they seem to do pretty well. They scratch a lot more. I think getting more seeds from grasses, etc. I don't know if they find frozen bugs or not. You can give them kitchen scraps as well. Roast, pork chops, hotdogs, not chicken. Soybean meal is also a good source of protein.
  5. becky3086

    becky3086 Crested Crazy

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thomson, GA
    I agree with the above but really wouldn't worry about it much, they will eat more of the feed and be fine.
  6. miss_jayne

    miss_jayne Lady_Jayne

    Jun 26, 2008
    Columbiaville, MI
    hays and alfalfa are NOT great ideas. not unless you plan on chopping them into tiny pieces. chickens do not bite them into pieces, they will ball them into whole pieces in the crop and can be seriously ill and/or die.

    for greens in winters use cabbages and other winter greens from the grocer if possible. (if your flock size permits)

    remember that even wild chickens would not get greens. we as humans eat seasonally and that is healthiest. same for them. seed wheat or corn for a treat (treat only) is a good food. no more then 10% a chicken's food stuffs should make up their diet if you are utilizing a chow.

    you can feed table scraps of any green veggies. be creative. too much of the cabbage family though can create a fish-like odor to the egg as will the soy mentioned above.
  7. txchickie

    txchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    I use alfalfa hay for greens, just throw a flake in the coop every couple of days. They don't eat the actual stems, they pick off the fine alfalfa leaves for greens. In the winter they obviously do not to get grass tips as it's brown and yucky, so this replaces their green stuff. Plus it's got lots of good protien!

    You can also do sprouts. I've never done it but have decided to give it a try this winter [​IMG] Maybe someone else will chime in that knows more about it!
  8. PAJerry

    PAJerry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2008
    Waterford, PA
    I did a wheat/BOSS mix of sprouts for mine last winter and it worked great. Egg production was good and the birds stayed very healthy. You can get good information on sprouting from - Harvey Ussery has some excellent posts on chicken farming there.
  9. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    I bought a sprouting jar..i think i'm going to use it this winter for them..
    go on you tube and google will give you lots of good ideas..

    I also would not use hay..i'm so scared of them getting impacted crops..
  10. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    I have used alfalfa also, both regular hay & dried cubes from TSC softened in water. I have never had a problem & they eat everything but the stems. They have a great time scratching around in it & picking out the bits of leaves.

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