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Old 05-08-2008, 08:13 AM  
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chickens & ducks living off the land question

Just wondering when I can stop feeding my chickens & ducks & just let them find their own food. I've always fed right through the summer but they have lots of land to roam & therefore should be able to find plenty to eat but I'm worried about it. Should I wait till summer to take them off their feed or would they be okay now? Also, how can I tell if they start loosing too much weight through all those feathers?
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Old 05-08-2008, 09:31 AM  
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I always throw out some chicken scratch and my left over vegies in the morning and at night I throw out some cracked corn. I still put mine up at night though.
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Old 05-10-2008, 05:03 AM  
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Even tho my birds free range I still toss them some cracked corn at night before they go to bed. That way if they didn't get much during the day I know they aren't going to bed hungry. Catch one every now and then and feel the crop. Does it feel full or is it empty. Then feel the breast bone. It should feel meaty.

My ducks are spending more time down at the pond and less at my barn. The chickens are ranging farther from the barn. These are also clues that there is plenty for them to eat. They aren't hanging out at the barn waiting for me to feed them.
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:47 PM  
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Okay, I just won't feed as much then. THrowing scratch out is no good for the ducks though is it?
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:55 PM  
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I'm not sure what other ducks eat, but my muscovies LOVE dog food and sweet feed. So we give them a bit of that each night to supplement their foraging (and if we don't they raid the dog's food bowl). We only feed them store-bought food until the bugs emerge full-force and the grass starts to grow.

They do such a good job - I've only found 2 ticks so far. Last year this time I was covered in ticks every time I stepped out the door.
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Old 05-11-2008, 06:37 AM  
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By scratch I'm assuming it's a mixed whole grain, oats, corn and I think barley. It's been a few years since I fed it. The chickens don't like the oats so I felt it was a waste and stopped feeding it.
I was feeding it to chickens and geese at the time. Now I feed cracked corn and during the breeding season turkey pellets. But then I'm also feeding peacocks. Chicken food isn't good for the peacocks but I know the ducks don't like the powdered feed they prefer pellets.

I was feeding 4 scoops of feed during the winter and they were still hungry.
Now I feed one scoop and there is feed left over. That makes the rats happy.

Bandit my muscovy duck loves to help the cats eat not only their cat food but she drinks the goats milk with them.
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:23 AM  
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I could see my ducks doing that if we had goats milk out. Once in a while they will pick at the cats' food, but they most definately prefer the dog food for some reason - especially if we happen to get a bag of the cheaper stuff. They LOVE cheap dog food. Go figure. But they really are like little hoover vacs, aren't they?
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