- Thread starter
Crossing the Road
- Jul 16, 2018
I may try this, though it will be virtually impossible to completely limit it to just feed. What you say about quality of forage makes sense, which is why I was planning on implementing a fodder system this weekend.Whether foraging and free ranging is bad for their diet depends on what they are finding when they forage.
For example, eating green grass and scratching up worms from a compost pile is likely to be fine.
But if they find a lot of grass seeds and not many bugs, that has about the same nutritional effect as eating a lot of extra grain and not enough protein. (Like when people offer too much scratch.)
And if they forage in a place with spilled grain (like in a barn with other livestock), or pizza (like a place where people eat lunch and think it's fun to feed leftovers to the birds), I think it's obvious what effect that would have on their diet.
If your chickens are having health problems,
and if you think those health problems might be related to their diet,
then it might be useful to limit them to only a complete commercial feed, to see if that helps.
A month or two would probably be long enough to show if it makes a difference.
As the seasons change, so do the things they can forage, so they will naturally eat more or less of the commercial feed at some seasons. So if you think about what has happened during the course of the year, you might notice if they are better or worse at what seasons, and see if that correlates with how much of what they eat.
I would probably let them keep foraging unless you have reason to think their diet is causing a problem, but limiting them to commercial food is definitely a safe thing to try, and has a chance of helping (depending on what their actual problem is.)
I don't know that diet is a cause, but I can't imagine that it's completely unrelated since diet is so closely linked with health in general. I wish I knew.... I lost 2 chickens to reproductive issues since April after not losing any for years (other than chicks to shipping stress). One of my ducks is now having problems (internal laying that, thankfully, hasn't turned septic).