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What do I feed my freerange chickens in the winter?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by greenpeeps, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. greenpeeps

    greenpeeps Songster

    Apr 15, 2009
    Greenford, Ohio
    My 4 girls currently eat a small amount of layer and free range most of the day. Because of this we have wonderful deep yellow to orange yolks in their eggs. I am afraid that during the winter if I only give them feed, their eggs will be more like store bought eggs. I thought of this because I picked up some eggs at a local farm and the eggs were just like store bought, only with colorful shells. I felt ripped off, silly isn't it. [​IMG]

  2. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Silly?? NO! We get spoiled when our fresh eggs!

    You can add a small fall garden-- make a bed with dark green veggies, 'Cole' crops such a cabbage, spinach, kale, turnips, collards and pumpkin, winter squash will help with the healthy yolks.....If you have a garden full of zucchini, squash, tomatoes (that you aren't gonna use---freeze them now for later feeding! The chickens will appreciate them if they are served warm in the middle of winter!
  3. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    I had a bunch of frozen shredded zucchini that I fed to my ducks last winter. I also stocked up on frozen peas whenever they were on sale. Put frozen peas in some warm water and it is instant pea soup time [​IMG]

    That can get expensive though, so another option is to get alfalfa cubes from the feed store. Soak a few of those in some warm water and put that out for winter greens.
  4. Grow pumpkin and squash next year too, my hens adore it and it lasts well into winter if stored in a cool place. Great for yolks...
  5. txchickie

    txchickie Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    We keep our free-range chickens supplied with alfalfa hay in the winter. I do make them salads in the winter, too....yummy lettuce, shredded carrots, olives, boiled eggs, squash, etc. I've bought pumpkins after Halloween clearanced for $.25c a piece and just cut them right in half, the chickens LOVE them. All that will be left is a floppy skin [​IMG]
  6. 19Dawn76

    19Dawn76 Songster

    Apr 26, 2009
    Toadsuck, AR
    You guys are sooo informative!! I was wondering this myself. I thought it was the bugs they ate that gave the yolks that deep color. I was trying to think of a way to feed themn crickets and worms this winter. [​IMG] Thanks soo much. now i know to keep my eye on the pumpkins this october.
  7. SandyRiverChick

    SandyRiverChick Songster

    Jun 7, 2009
    Brightwood, OR
    Can they still do a little free-ranging in winter? Even if you've got snow (but not tons), they should still be able to find seeds and dig under bushes for "stuff."

  8. trilyn

    trilyn Songster

    Apr 13, 2009
    East Syracuse
    You can also buy some alfalfa cubes that they have for horses/livestock and use those. You'll have to soak them until they're soft and drain it and give it to them. They should eat it right up and you'll have your deep yellow/orange yolks! A 50lb bag runs around 10-12.00.
  9. chickiedoodle

    chickiedoodle In the Brooder

    Mar 15, 2008
    If you have neighbors with goats you might even get some alfalfa for free--goats are picky and waste a lot of hay. I have two goats and once a week I empty the bottom of the manger into the chicken pen. Mostly what I toss in is old stems, that they end up turning into compost for me, and piles of crushed leaves that fell off as the goats were picking through to find the best nibbles. The chickens believe the leaves are manna sent from heaven [​IMG]
  10. greenpeeps

    greenpeeps Songster

    Apr 15, 2009
    Greenford, Ohio
    Thanks so much for the great ideas. Our neighbor has an apple tree that he never sprays so there's never any good apples. I think I'll have to pick some and store them for the winter.


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