When you see free-range chicken at the grocery store, an easy assumption is that the chicken was free to graze in a grassy pasture. While this is true to some extent, free-ranging your chicken is much more than that.
For starters, raising chickens this way is about embracing sustainable farming. As a consumer, you'd be guaranteed that naturally raised meats do not only come with a lot of health and wellness benefits, but you also get to support local farmers.
Here are some things about free-ranging chickens that you probably did not know.
Even though there has been a lot of debate and discussion about the issue, there is enough evidence to back up this claim. Natural-feed chickens will not lay eggs with the same nutritional content as those fed on maize and commercial feed. This is still true among free-range poultry farmers. Their eggs are more likely to be healthy since their diet in the field comprises organically foraged items. This is because various foods have different nutrients that are transmitted to the eggs.
Free-range chickens are fantastic at keeping pests at bay. Grasshoppers, hookworms, beetles, termites, ticks, snails, and centipedes are among the bugs they will consume every day. They'll be scraping the ground around them or searching for food as they wait for their next feed. Chickens may also hunt down rodents and tiny snakes to consume them, in addition to these insects. This will be quite beneficial if you have crops because you will no longer need to install traps to prevent pests.
If you're resourceful and inventive, you don't need to spend a lot of money on your flock to keep them happy and healthy. During the day, a free-ranging flock will forage for much of its food, eating grass, weeds, insects, berries, and grub they come upon. You'll save a lot of money on commercial chicken feed if you do it this way. You may feed them common garden weeds to give them a nutritional boost as they hunt for food independently. Free-range chickens are also healthier, which will save money on medical bills in the long run.
Chickens that are allowed to roam freely can maintain their weight and avoid obesity. Because they have more than enough opportunity for activity by running around the farm all day, even the larger breeds tend to stay in good shape. They are more active and are healthier as a result of not being stuck in such close quarters. Aside from that, unlike living in a coop, there will be a much smaller chance of disease spreading among your flock. You may easily separate one of your birds from the others if it becomes ill.
While free-range chickens have several advantages, they are not without problems. For starters, allowing your chickens to live outside the coop exposes them to predators like raccoons and foxes. They may also cause havoc in your yard. Scratching is a favourite pastime of chickens, resulting in uneven landscapes. They will also devour your flowers and vegetables and leave their waste and eggs all over the area.
For a chicken owner, there are benefits and drawbacks to free-range chickens. You can quickly determine whether or not free-range birds are a suitable fit for you by weighing your options. Containing them in a wandering area with a fence is one method to ensure that they remain safe. This will mitigate the drawbacks and allow your chickens to live on their own!
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