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Supplementary feed for free range chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Golden Egg, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. Golden Egg

    Golden Egg Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2012
    We have a few acres of grass, brush, and woods to free range our flock of general-purpose chickens on. Currently I keep laying ration available to them 24/7, but I have some questions...

    Do I have to give them supplementary feed?
    If yes, can I give them a simpler feed than a commercial laying ration and still have them lay well and grow well?
    Can I feed layers, breeders, and growing meat birds all the same thing?
    If mixing my own feed, what are the important components and how much? (I know the levels of protein, but what about calcium, phosphorous, etc.?)

    I'm not looking for a recipe, just some basic pointers.
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    If natural forage quality is good and abundant, then you should be able to maintain egg production and growth supplying only a scratch and it need not be available 24/7. During much of summer I supply birds with enough scratch to keep them eating for about 15 minutes. They must make up difference themselves. The more they need as forage to meet overall needs, the more time and / or the farther they range for more eats. I try to gauge foraging activities so they do not go more than a couple hundred yards from where I apply feed. Going further increases odds part of flock will start roosting somewhere else. A standard multiple grain scratch made up with about 1/3 millet is my base feed. Sunflower seed is also popular with birds. If birds start going too far, bump up ration. Cold windy days they will want more. If no amount of increase keeps them in tight enough, then also supply a general flock grower diet and see if that helps. If yes, then protein in forage is low. Also be prepared to supply oystershell or something similar like limestone if eggshell poorly formed.
     
  3. Golden Egg

    Golden Egg Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2012
    Thank you very much! That is exactly what I wanted to know.:)
     

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