A Great Question came in from a Customer Today asking advice on whether or not she should supplement feed for her Free Ranged Chickens. . .
The Answer = NO -- but........yes, kinda sorta? - - - Lets Talk about this.
BACK in the DAY -- Chickens never depended on Humans to supply their food. The Good Lord made animals self sufficient - they are born with the skills to find their own food.
In modern day, our properties are smaller and we like to keep our Chickens close to us - preferably on our own Farm / Property, so lots of domesticating has gradually occurred down the line, and many homesteads have kept them in Chicken Runs and fed them GMO Feeds.
This has not been good for the Chicken - and twice as bad for those of us who consume their eggs -- Feeding commercial "feeds" does Not produce a Healthy Hen or Egg.
With all that Said . . . . Lets Talk FREE RANGING ! ! Yay !
Back to how they were designed - a Chicken was MADE to Forage ! They know what they want to eat - they know what mineral or protein their body craves ! They BE Smart !
SO-- Do we need to "FEED" them per say ? NO - Not Really --- BUT ---- Because We want
them to Stick Around and give us those Delicious Healthy Eggs -
Our part is to prepare our Homesteads to have the resources / places to scratch that they need and want to forage in. For Example.. a Compost Pile !
You already have one of these - Right? A Compost Pile is a Big heap of Compostable / Degradable / Lawn and Garden Wastes. Keep it Piled High - and in the Sun, and watered regularly -- and you will attract all the buggies and wormies the girls Crave! They will "Turn" the pile every day - you just have to re-heap it and let them help you make the Best Dirt.
Kitchen Scraps go in there too - Banana peels- Apples - Celery Trimmings, Peppers, crumbled egg shells - you name it --- they will eat it ! Leaves you have raked, grass clippings, If the chickens don't devour it, it will attract the buggies that will, and there is their Food. If you keep your pile refreshed - they will have a endless supply of rotting veggies to
eat, and all the creepy crawlies that come with it.
Did you know that Chickens are Meat Eaters too? Small Frogs, Lizards, Toads, Spiders, Ticks, and Flys (they especially love eating them from fly strips)
Our Chickens Really LOVE to help me in the Garden - every time I dig a row, they are right next to me Just In Case a wayward worm rears his squiggly body, and they take care of it immediately, before i even see it -- then they step back and look up at me as if to say "Go ahead mommy, i got that for you" They are a trip. Chickens that love you never stray far.