Julia Winter wrote:Your success may depend on your predator pressure.
John Polk wrote:In regards to this also feeding the wild birds, you should be cautious here.
Encouraging wild birds into your yard is beneficial in many ways, but not if they begin mingling with your chickens.
Many mites, lice, parasites and diseases are introduced to chicken flocks via the wild birds.
Predators also follow them into the area. A 5 pound chicken looks better to them than a 2 ounce wren.
Probably the most common approach to supplementing their feed with grains is to feed them shortly before dusk.
This helps to set the habit of returning to the safety of their coop every day before dark.
It helps protect them. Since most eggs are laid at night, they will lay where you will more easily find them.
Free food all day will drastically reduce their foraging.
Make them find their own food, and you will have healthier birds at a great savings in money and labor.
Just make certain that there is water available to them all day.
Wild bird feed is probably not providing all of the nutrition they need for health (and egg production).
Isabelle Gendron wrote:Good day everyone,
Here I left my hens free range all summer up until now, but I notice that even if they scratch outside, spent time in the wood (a lot), when I put grains at night in their feeders they eat like hell....Looks like they don't eat enough...maybe they are still in transitions? But like Paul said, I am working on having poultries that will eat only fourrages...the cost of the grains is quite expensive here. Since we have a lot of land for them, I'm sure they will have everything they need to be healthy. working on that.
Isabelle Gendron wrote:Julia, we have a 35 hectars (4 millions square foot) of land...half of it in wood. Pastures had not been used for the last 15 years. ACtually the chickens can free ranges on a big area but I would say that they cover approx. around 2000 square foot maybe more sometimes. But they use a lot the wood beside the barn. They have access to a little stream (don't no if I can call this a stream...a little little frlow of water), but I give them fresh water everyday. I'm in the deep litter method wich I like a lot..I put kitchen scrap in the coop almost everyday and there is a poop compost beside the barn that they scratch all the time. On the field next to the barn there is a lot of reseeding grains ( I think it is something like, wheat, grass) a lot of wild flowers...shrubbs etc...They ¨look¨ very healthy...nice colours (legs and crest and feathers)...no problems at all....hens are laying even a new one today. it is just this thing when I put the feeding at night...they are waiting for this. But since almost all the breed are ow use to this kind of food, and I started with that, I guess the transition is not that simple...
I have 17 chicken in that coop almost only Chantecler....In the small coop, I have Silkies...they forage a lot and don't jump at the grains when I give it to them. The big difference with them it's in the coop. I use the deep litter also but they seems to scratch less....I'm still looking at that.
But still confident that I will be able to have them eat forages only...still the winter season to figure out though,,,,here it can go down to -35 in the coldest days so forget the forages...need to find a way to harvest and keep the grains in the barn...the old way I gues )))