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Does anyone have a flock that they don't feed? Their only source of food is from foraging? Is that possible with perhaps the smaller breeds?
 

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For four years I free ranged all day long, only locking the birds in their coop at night for safety. We have 80 acres, so there was plenty of places for them to forage even when my flock size approached 40 birds. I still kept food available in their coop at all times, in case someone wanted a nibble before being let out in the morning or after they'd gone in for the night, but it was rarely touched.
This past summer I suffered my first heavy losses with free ranging. I believe I lost a total of 9 birds to hawks and coyotes. Now my hens are penned in a run all day and only get to free range for a few hours in the evenings.
It can work to make them self-sustainable, depending on your enviroment and weather conditions. If you get any type of winter at all where you are, they will most likely need to be fed at least in the wintertime or their laying production and overall health will suffer.
 

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My game chickens and some Bantys are loose 24/7/365.. The games are long and lean and are constantly moving, the Bantys are slow and lay around quite a bit, they work the creek in the shadows to avoid the chickenhawks. They all roost in a giant Cedar. My other Bantys and layin hens free range all day and back to coops at night, pullets are allowed out every other day... I feed after turnin hens and pullets out so the doors open for them to return & lay, feeder hangin in a tree. No food in coops but I do keep water in there.
 

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An ol time game and not the same "game" from a hatchery (Imo) ... but having a chicken that will forage for themselves will also give you a chicken that will hide their nest from you also.

The games I had were great at finding what they needed but as I said they were also very good at coming in with a brood of chicks. ;) Now if you are looking for chicks not eggs, they are the best. lol
 

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I had 2 game hens they free ranged I gave them scraps off the kitchen like old cereal or crackers or something I made the sometimes they roosted in the roof and sometimes in trees I got afraid a hawk would get them so I made hilly billy wind chimes on the chicken coop so they'd be safe well my dog was antibiotics from its haircut it hates haircuts + lime disease when the got off the pills it killed Halloween black + orange game hen so I got afraid and gave the other one to my neighbor the person I give all the chickens I do not want that's bad but they got 180 poultry house chickens they ate almost all of them all summer now the have 50 for eggs but they don not lay and they're are well over do for eggs they were hatched like February so they outta be good by now but it's not my problem lol so no more games hens for me
 

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DansChickens said:
I had 2 game hens they free ranged I gave them scraps off the kitchen like old cereal or crackers or something I made the sometimes they roosted in the roof and sometimes in trees I got afraid a hawk would get them so I made hilly billy wind chimes on the chicken coop so they'd be safe well my dog was antibiotics from its haircut it hates haircuts + lime disease when the got off the pills it killed Halloween black + orange game hen so I got afraid and gave the other one to my neighbor the person I give all the chickens I do not want that's bad but they got 180 poultry house chickens they ate almost all of them all summer now the have 50 for eggs but they don not lay and they're are well over do for eggs they were hatched like February so they outta be good by now but it's not my problem lol so no more games hens for me
Here Halloween an haircut diff.
Ginger the other game hen now at my neighbors
My dog got Halloween :(
 

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Sundancers said:
An ol time game and not the same "game" from a hatchery (Imo) ... but having a chicken that will forage for themselves will also give you a chicken that will hide their nest from you also.

The games I had were great at finding what they needed but as I said they were also very good at coming in with a brood of chicks. ;) Now if you are looking for chicks not eggs, they are the best. lol
Absolutely true..
 
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