space a chicken needs to free range without help

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chick_magnet, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. chick_magnet

    chick_magnet Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 25, 2010
    I want to try free ranging my chickens with out any feed from the store. I would like to know how many space a chicken needs to forage if the oweners (me) do not provides any help with feed. I will provide plenty of water though.
  2. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2010
    Apple Hill
    Sorry brah, but you need to feed your pets and/or livestock. Free-range foraging is merely supplemental.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011
  3. remuda1

    remuda1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 12, 2011
    Granbury, Texas
    Every situation is specific to that flock owners environment. For example, if you lived in an area that received plenty of rain then your flick would have access to much more forage (insects and plant material) than would a flock that lived in desert like conditions. Having said that, even if my flock were 24/7 free rangers I would still put out feed for them.
  4. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I don't think a chicken could catch enough bugs to survive plus they would starve to death in the winter. Your egg production would be really affected. They need more than free range. Free range helps reduce the feed bill that's for sure. Then old man winter comes & the feed bill goes up. Bugs die off & the chicken has no way to find enough food. I say it can't be done.
  5. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    May 18, 2009
    I agree. I free range my chickens on 3 acres with plenty of grass and bugs, but I also give them chicken feed every day plus a little scratch and other treats. They are always hungry. I'd be afraid to open the front door if I didn't feed them - they would eat me!
  6. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    When I free ranged, mine had unlimited grass, weeds, woods and a swamp. They were not fenced except by a neighbor's pasture, though they probably didn't wander over more than maybe 5 acres. Similar to other posters, they ate a lot less feed in warmer months than cold, but always ate some, and we don't have a true winter, just a few months when grass doesn't grow.
  7. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    Ditto the others -- it's not how much space but rather what's available in that space.

    My ten have almost unlimited access to 20 acres with a nice mix of pasture, forest, and orchard and they're great foragers. They still eat some feed. They might be able to survive without for a time but it would be rough right now after a 3-week dry spell combined with temperatures in the 90s every day. Summer drought is not uncommon here and in winter, there's almost nothing available.
  8. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2010
    I have over 300 acres mine can free range, but they still eat is balanced and what they need. Yours may survive for a while, but the egg production would drop off and eventually I believe, they would fall sick...
  9. lorain's fids

    lorain's fids Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2011
    New Jersey
    Quote:Just wondering why you wouldn't want to feed your chickens.
  10. vstoltzfus

    vstoltzfus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2009
    Lancaster County, PA
    Chick_magnet, I have the same question. When I was growing up my mom kept chickens, and she didn't buy them commercial food. They free ranged over our property and we always had eggs. I never remember one dying of starvation. I'm sure we would have gotten more eggs if we would have fed them commercial food, but so what? We got all the eggs we needed, plus some to sell, and the chickens seemed "happy" chasing bugs, eating whatever food the cats left behind, and scratching around in the dirt. I don't know what mom did with the chickens in the winter, but I'll ask my dad if he remembers. I also have an Amish neighbor who has a large quantity of chickens, and he doesn't feed them in the summer--just the winter.

    I, too, am toying with the idea of just letting my hens free range and see what happens. I used to give them all the feed they wanted, but now I just give them feed in the morning and have them fend for themselves the rest of the day. If you decide to try "free range only" please post and let me know how it goes. Good luck to you!

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