tossing scratch feed on the ground.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bucky52, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. bucky52

    bucky52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just read not to toss any food on the ground.I toss my scratch and meal worm on the ground in my run.i do a clean up of poop off the ground first.their food is in pans and feeders.Do you toss treats on the ground or put them in container's.
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Where did you read it and what reasoning was offered for that advice?
    I avoid putting their base ration (I feed grower, but insert layer, etc here too) on the ground because it breaks down so easily and it would lead to a lot of wasted feed, imo. Less degradable feed such as scratch and kitchen treats, though, get scattered on the ground.
     
  3. bucky52

    bucky52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read it on community chickens.and the reason is the bacteria on the ground from chicken poo is not healthy for them and the person that eats the eggs.I scoop up poo in the run every morning.and I have poop boards that catch their nightly droppings.and I scoop that up every morning also.My thing is they scratch in the dirt and eat bugs and worms.and what ever they can gobble down.
     
  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    If they think that their birds aren't pecking in that dirt anyway they don't know chickens.......
     
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  5. bucky52

    bucky52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do agree with you.chickens are scavengers.
     
  6. sirrobyn0

    sirrobyn0 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've never heard of not to tossing scratch on the ground. Ours get scratch and kitchen treats tossed right into their outdoor pen. Regardless, my chickens peck the ground whether I throw scratch grains out for them or not so I know I will continue to do it.

    When I was growing up, at my parents place when we would let the chickens out for the day they would go for the horse poo. Lots of yummy stuff in there I guess.
     
  7. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Yep - picking through waste is what makes having chickens kept in places where you are also keeping other livestock such a great thing. They will help to break up and scatter the waste while digging through to find bits of undigested grain product, etc as well as getting at the insects that are found in the poo piles.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It sounds like you have a fairly small run, otherwise you would not be removing poop from it daily. I agree with everyone else. Chickens peck at the ground and eat things from the ground, even each other’s poop. That’s how they share probiotics and develop flock immunities, eating each other’s poop. That by itself is not a bad thing, I consider sharing probiotics and developing flock immunities a good thing. I want my chickens to develop a strong immune system, not try to keep them in a sterile environment.

    The risk comes in when the poop load gets too high, especially if it gets wet. If it gets wet it will probably stink plus if it is wet that is a breeding ground for some diseases. Wet is your biggest enemy, but the heavier the poop load in the ground the higher the risk. I never clean poop out of my run but mine have a lot of room so the poop gets really spread out. In my coop I use a droppings board and do not crowd my chickens either. The heavier your chicken density the harder you need to work especially on poop management.

    There is a rule of thumb to not feed any more treats than they can clean up in 15 to 20 minutes each day. That way they maintain a balanced diet since their main feed is a balanced diet and it stays the main portion of what they eat. I don’t follow that, especially when going through the waste from my garden, but I do want them to clean it all up that day. I don’t want to attract vermin or predators plus I don’t want it to go sour or moldy. I do toss it on the ground, not in a container.

    Chickens eat dirt. They get grit from that, they get minerals and other nutrients from that. It helps keep them healthy. As long as you are feeding treats in moderation, toss them on the ground, depending of course on what it is. I’d feed yogurt in a container. As a bonus, they will scratch and help turn your ground, helping it dry out of it gets wet and spreading the poop you miss so it’s not as concentrated.
     
  9. littleboots

    littleboots Out Of The Brooder

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    I make a point to toss it on the ground. Here's why:

    1. That's how they eat, naturally. I say let the chicken be a chicken. It's like she's built to peck the ground. Plus she loves to scratch sometimes before she bites. She just can't help herself.

    2. I let her chickenness of scratching and eating off the ground work to my advantage. She's either shredding mulch, turning my compost piles, or tilling unwanted sod (that I'm preparing for a garden). Here's some of my birds hunting some grubs in my deep mulched garden beds (before veggies are planted).

    [​IMG]


    With that said, it's probably not a great idea to throw down food if she's in the same ol' nasty place day after day (that's not natural either). If she's on deep bedding (in which you ad too regularly) or if she's moved to new ground regularly, I think you should be good.

    For more of my stuff, check out http://www.abundantpermaculture.com
     
  10. kurczaki

    kurczaki Out Of The Brooder

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    Isn’t it what they do all day long – pecking the ground?
     

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