The Big Debate

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by JoePa, May 15, 2011.

  1. JoePa

    JoePa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2011
    Lehigh County Pa.
    Free Roaming is debating Confinement - Free Roaming lives in a rural area and lets her flock free roam throughout her large back yard - Confinement also lives in a rural area and confines his flock in a large coop and wild bird proff run filled with construction sand -

    Free Roaming: my flock eats all kind of bugs, worms, slugs, grasshoppers .etc - they get protein from them - it is healthy for them

    Confinement: my flock gets all of the protein they need from the feed I give them and the table scraps - meat, fish and so forth - I don't have to worry about them picking up internal parasites that they can get from worms and bugs (score 1 for Confinement)

    Free Roaming: my flock gets to eat all kinds of greens - grass, leaves from different plants, flowers .etc. it's good for them

    Confinement: my flock gets all the greens they want from the grass clippings and vegetables I give them from my garden and I can control what greens they eat - no poisonous plants - the same greens that I eat ( score 1 for Confinement)

    Free Roaming: my flock is happy being able to roam free - although I realize that once in awhile a predator can kill one

    Confinement: my flock is secure and happy - they never roamed free so they don't really miss it - also they are not all stressed out looking out for predators - I never lose one to predators (score 1 for Confinement)

    Free Roaming: my flock poops all over the place so I don't have to clean up as much in their coop or run

    Confinement: yes that's true but you need to keep cleaning your shoes when your walkiing around the yard and clean your picnic table and benches and patio steps - I know where the poop is and can easily clean it up ( score 1 for Confinement)

    Free Roaming: a flock that can roam free is more natural and the eggs and meat taste better and is healthier

    Confinement: healthier and taste better? I doubt it with all the mitts, ticks, .etc they can get and then the need to use medicine and chemicals to rid them of the bugs ( score 1 for Confinement)

    Final Score: Confinement 5 Free Roaming 0

    Congratulations Confinement - he did a good job - Free Roaming did her best
  2. Missouri Chicken Chick

    Missouri Chicken Chick Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 29, 2011
    A few thoughts on your "confinement" points.

    All of your points would depend on the size of the run the chickens are in. In regard to the first point, no matter how "confined" they are, they are still going to eat bugs unless your pen is so air-tight that not even a bug can enter.

    If your run is full of sand, then your birds are walking all over their own poo which also spread diseases.

    In regard to grass clippings and poisonous weeds, those clippings run the same risk of having poisonous plants mixed in unless, again, your yard is totally weed free. I have also heard it's not good to give chickens grass clippings.

    When it comes to predators, unless you've built a fortress, a predator that wants in bad enough is going to find a way no matter what. At least if they are free ranging, the chickens have a chance to escape as opposed to being confined to a small space where they don't have much of a chance.

    I definitely see the points on both sides, but I am a free-range fan. Letting them free-range produces eggs that are much healthier for people because they are higher in Omega-3s, lower in cholesterol, and have very yellow yolks compared to hens that are confined. It also seems to keep my birds a little healthier than when I had birds that were confined, but that has just been my own personal experience.
  3. karlamaria

    karlamaria Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2011
    Western montana
    Not sure what free range is, but if it's letting our girls out of the shed, allowing them to forage, et and play out side the coop in the back yard this is what we do. I work and kids go to school, our girls can only get out for a 5 hours a day yet, but soon will be out 10 hours a day or more during the week and 15 hours a day on the weekends. Not round the clock, but still free to play a lot and not on sand but
    A nice large large sectioned yard just for them. I hope this is good enough for my girls, we live in the city.
    Last edited: May 15, 2011
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    This is an old debate on here. And I sometimes think that "free range" is used to mean as many things as "deep litter" is. I believe the original idea behind free range was, they found all their own food foraging, perhaps on a pasture -- but I'm no chicken historian. On here, it's often used the way you used it, karlamaria, where they are turned loose in a back yard.

    The great thing about BYC is, you can read about so many different approaches and the results -- and make choices based not just on your viewpoint but also a whole lot of information.

    And I don't think this "debate" has a single logical conclusion, if only because different people have different objectives in chicken keeping.
  5. karlamaria

    karlamaria Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2011
    Western montana
    Quote:Thank you hon, I agree

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