I have 10 birds that are 11 -12 weeks old that won't forage. These are my first birds and they were all brooded from chicks. I have them penned up in a 100sf area of electronet fencing with a 35sf portable coop (which is too heavy but is a great workout to move around). I have had them in a single spot for over a week. I have watched the birds and they don't seem to forage very well. all the vegetation in that area is completely intact with very little soil disturbance. But they seem to eat plenty when of chickenfeed and kitchen scraps. Since they haven't had a mother hen to teach them to forage what is the best way for me to encourage this behavior? Do I remove there feed? If so, for how long? 4 of the birds are Rhode Island Reds, the other 6 are a black bird with white stripes that I picked up from the local farm store. 1 of the black birds is a Rooster.
I also have 2 dozen Red Ranger Broilers that are only 2 weeks old so i'd like to get this figured out. I am anxious to get them working to build soil and reduce feed costs.
Forgive me if this has already been addressed. I searched and came up empty, perhaps i was using the wrong search terms.
When we keep pouring food in front of them, we are teaching them to wait for us to feed them.
With your Freedom Rangers, I would suggest putting a few clumps of sod into their brooder, and delay their morning feeding. If they get hungry, they will discover all of the goodies in that clump of sod. This helps train them to look for food rather than wait for food.
Sorry, missed. breed type of OP, I'm going to blame my phone browser on messing up this pages layout.
With both my Easter Eggers and my meat birds I slowed the increase of quantity of feed so their crops weren't quite so full and they increased their grazing on their own.
With the meats scattering the feed like you would scratch also made quite a difference.
Nice tip about the sod in brooder, I'm going out to grab a tender chunk now for the batch of meats soon to graduate to the tractor.
Thank you for the replies. I'll give that a try. I am currently throwing them kitchen scraps and very rarely scratch. I'll try putting sod in their coop and encourage them to forage by limiting their feed.
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