Why You Should Be Letting Your Chickens Out



When I was growing up, there was a man that lived across the street from my parent's house. Every morning, he would go down to his chicken coop and let all of his chickens out for the day. They spent the day outside, coming and going from the coop as they pleased.  Every evening, he went down to the coop and made sure that they were all up again. He raised and sold both chicks and eggs and had about 50 hens at any given time. I never realized until I got older and had my own chickens why he raised them this way.

Benefits of Pasture-Raising Chickens

There are many different ways that you can describe what is essentially letting chickens loose during the day. Free-ranging, foraging, pasture-raised, etc.  It's important to note that if you are selling meat or eggs then you need to make sure that you are meeting the regulations for that particular category of raising them. I want to talk to you about letting them loose. Let them access forage and grass.

Why? Because there are so many benefits!

Natural insect control. When you raise chickens on pasture or forage, you can reduce your insect load in your yard or garden, decrease your feed costs, and increase both the chicken's health and your own (if you eat the eggs and/or meat). Chickens that are out on pasture will eat some forage and grasses (usually about 30 to 40% of their diet). They will eat vegetation that is lush and plump. They'll spend the majority of their time looking for insects though. Insects will make up about 40 to 50% of their diet when they are out naturally ranging. Natural bug control anyone?

Save money on chicken feed. Obviously, if the chickens are out and eating forage and insects, they will require less feed from you, which saves you money. I always think it's crazy when people mention that keeping chickens is expensive. Believe it or not, I don't spend a dime on feed once my chickens leave the brooder. They are out all day long foraging and it doesn't cost me anything!

4/16/2019 4:50:25 AM

I love the idea of free ranging my flock, and at the same time it scares me to lose my small flock to a predator. I’m not allowed roosters in my neighborhood. What other methods do you find are the most effective to prevent attacks?

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