|I tried to wait until the last moment in the day|
to feed the wild birds, but even then the chickens
were coming back to see what they could scrounge
before they hit the coop for the night.
The blooming chickens seem to be perpetually ravenous - even to the point of chasing the wild birds away so that they can eat the food which I throw for them every evening.
Perhaps the rooster and chickens aren't getting enough and they are hungry, I thought? It doesn't seem logical, because they are 100% unrestrictedly free-ranging as well as being given a small amount of breakfast (a mixture of corn pieces, pearl barley, sunflower seeds, red lentils and laying pellets) when they are released from the coop in the morning, and a slightly larger amount for dinner before they are safely ensconced in their coop for the night.
So I decided to research chicken feeders that I could leave in the coop for them to help themselves to whenever they felt like it, but that wouldn't also feed / encourage the field mice.
And then I saw one that seriously appealed to me.
So, with RMan's help we set about sorting it up.
It entails a thoroughly cleaned, recycled 25lt bucket (left over from when we painted the house) and two drain pipe corners.
|I tend to fill up the bucket so that the tops of the|
drainpipe corners are covered. That amount of food
lasts the chickens for a week - in addition to their
free ranging all day long.
|As I filled the feeder bucket for the first time,|
and before I had chance to place it in their
coop, they all crowded round. Munching took
place in the normal pecking order.
|The one chick couldn't wait to get it's|
head into the feed bucket. Shoving
their heads relatively deep inside the bucket
doesn't seem to bother them at all.
The bricks / height also ensure that the
field mice can't access the bucket nor
Serendipitously, the rooster has lost his aggression...! :)
How much additional food are they consuming? Over a week it is roughly twice the amount that I used to feed them in a single day - i.e. 8 days worth of food over 7 days. So, no great increase in feed costs, and, by way of thank you, all five of the chickens are now laying :D