Free-range chicken farming is a traditional system of rearing chickens. Prior to the advent of different technological aids, that have greatly improved poultry production; chickens were finished on pastures in a free-range system.
One thing you must understand as a poultry farmer is; chickens thrive best in their natural environment. The quality of products gotten under free-range chicken farming is better than any other system. In the US, free-range products attract premium prices.
Chicken raised in a free-range system produce more nutritious and tastier meat and egg; their laying period in a free-range layers farm is extended than the caged chickens. The chickens raised under free-range have good growth and have access to a better diet.
What is afree-range farming system?
The free-range farming system is the type of system whereby livestock (chicken, cattle, goat and sheep, etc.) are allowed to fend for themselves in a controlled and predetermined environment.
The environment is very crucial here, it must be controlled to accommodate the livestock and all the entities in the environment must be predetermined. Free-range farming is a model for the semi-intensive system of raising livestock.
Chickens breeds that can be raised in the free-range are Rhode Island red chickens,Kuroiler andNoiler. Kuroiler andNoilerare the best free-range chicken breeds. Kuroiler will perform awesomely well in a large scale free-range chicken farming.
Most farmers think the free-range chickens farming is obsolete and only suitable for rearing local chicken, therefore, it cannot be practiced in this modern-day poultry farming; this is not true.
To run a successful free-range chicken farm, there are some conditions you must put in place when preparing a free-range chicken farming business plan. They are:
- Provision of a conducive environment and a comfortable resting area.
- Access to freshwater and diet.
- Freedom from predator and discomfort.
- Ability to express innate behaviors.
These conditions play a remarkable role in the success of free-range poultry farming; they are basic conditions that facilitate the rearing of chickens in the modern system and organic poultry farming.
Now let us see how best to put these conditions into practice when setting up a free-range chicken farm:
Provision of a conducive environment and a comfortable resting area
The domestic chicken is a sub-species of the jungle fowl, whose natural habitat is a woody shrub. This implies that the best habitat for chicken, where their highest productivity is enhanced in a woody environment, hence, you can have a free-range with trees making up the environment.
I once buttressed theimportance of planting trees around your farm on this blog; trees play an important role in the welfare of chickens and other livestock animals.
Planting trees in a free-range chicken commercial farm help to mimic the natural conditions that facilitate inherent behaviors such as foraging, dust bathing, and scratching. These are compulsory to have high efficiency in free-range poultry farming.
Trees provide a conducive environment by protecting the chickens from harsh weather conditions. Also, it provides a comfortable resting area in form of cover, free-range poultry sheds and chicken run for the chickens. Chicken run allows the chickens to exercise their body.
It is not as if chickens do not haveshelter in a free-range system, they do have. Commercial free-range poultryhousing is made up ofsimple poultry house designs, where you make useof local materials only. This also reduces the cost of housing in thefree-range chicken commercial farm, thus, greatly improving free-range chickenfarming profitability.
Access to fresh water and diet:
Recently, I posted somemistakes that make poultry farms fail, wherein Idiscussed extensively 7 mistakes. One of them is inadequate feeding anddrinking equipment.
Feed is very important in chicken farming; the advantage free-range chicken production is; in chicken range, chickens have access to natural food, they have the ability to select the type of feed they need. One of the crucial ideas you should have about chickens is that they eat to meet their energy requirements. Once this is reached, they are satisfied.
One of the advantages of raising chickens on a chicken range is that you determine the kind of feed you want your chicken to feed on. In commercial free-range chicken farming, greens and herbs are what to feed free-range chickens.
Fodder and pasture are the major feedstuff in a free-range chicken diet. This is a cheap way to reduce the cost of feeding; also, you have the ability to rotate the greens considering prevailing conditions.
Let us take fodder asan example.
Fodder has become a major substitute for commercial chicken feed. If you are not feeding your chicken with fodder, I am sorry; you are missing out.
Fodder is highly nutritious and rich in protein, essential vitamins and minerals needed for the healthy growth of chicken. Prudent poultry farmers now reduce their cost of feeding by serving their chicken fodder.
Pasture is also a great feed for chicken; they have the ability to browse around and select the best parts of feed. Feeding should not be a problem in free-range poultry farming; because you are required to provide the best of greens.
In free-range chicken production, free-range laying hens produce a high-quality egg with high hatchability percentage; the yolk of egg produced is brilliant yellow in color and of good shell thickness.
Although the eggs may not be of a larger size as seen in the commercial poultry farms, they are of appreciable size with excellent quality. Free-range laying chickens are the best egg-laying chickens.
Water is very important in raising free-range chickens; clean one indeed. Because you raise your chickens in free-range does not mean they should drink from waste. Chickens are well adapted and domesticated; you can prepare a clean bowl of water in strategic places in your range such that after feeding, they access water easily.
Freedom from Predator and Discomfort
I am sure you do not want your chickens to be preyed by unruly predators of any kind. Commercial free-range chicken farming is a confined environment; where adequate security is provided.
Commercial free-range chicken farming is a confined environment; where adequate security is provided. Free-range is different from an extensive system; the only difference between free-range and the commercial system of raising chicken is “freedom of expression”; chickens have to chance to feed and the experience their natural environment. Predators in form of a snake and other deleterious reptiles should be prevented from accessing the range.
Ability to express Innate Behaviors
This is one of the disadvantages of the battery cage system of poultry production. Free-range chickens are cage-free chicken. Chicken needs to express their innate behaviors; it is only through this they can attain their maximum yield potential.
When chickensexpress their innate behaviors, they grow better and healthier; this is why you see chickens in a battery cage system of poultry production, fall sick fervently.
Apart from making the chickens healthy,natural behaviors also improve the quality of their products and boostfree-range chicken farming profitability.
Advantages and disadvantages of free-range chicken farming
- Chicken in the free-range are healthier and grow better compare to chickens in other systems.
- Free-range products are more nutritious and tasty than chicken under other systems
- The spread of diseases is very insignificant in a free-range chicken production system compare to other systems.
- The cost of feeding and housing is drastically reduced in free-range chickens farming.
- Keeping free-range chickens is easy and less time-consuming as seen in other systems of raising chickens.
- The free-range chicken farming system produces high quality but low quantity products.
- Free-range chicken farming enhances the study of chickens in their natural environment.
- The free-range system helps to cushion the effects of the weather extremes.
Free-range poultry production is a sustainable chicken farming system that enables chickens to explore their genetic potentials; Chickens raised under a free-range system unarguably produce quality products (Egg and Meat) than chickens raised under the battery cage or deep litter system.
Read more: 8 Possible Causes Of Vaccine Failure In Chickens
Live fast, die young
Free-range broilers will usually be slaughtered at 8 weeks old and organic broilers at around 12 weeks old. There are a number of welfare issues for broiler chickens.
A chicken breast from a free-range chicken can supply more than 50% of the body's daily protein needs. Chickens that are free to roam around have more amount of other vitamins and minerals like Vitamins B, D, A, Potassium, and Sodium. These nutrients are commonly found in conventional chickens.
A: We recommend feeding "free choice"; that is, letting them eat as much layer feed as they want and leaving their feeder out at all times (although you may take it up at night if you like). Even if your chickens have access to pasture, free ranging simply supplements their diet.
Starting a Business Chicken Farm Free Range and Country ... - YouTube
#1 Feed high protein food
While chickens need a lot of carbs to meet their energy needs and make them put on weight, a high protein diet can help your indigenous chickens grow faster.
1. Cornish Cross.
|Weight (male)||12 lbs|
When you plan to construct a free-range chicken house, you have to pick a well-drained location with lots of pure air movement. The right housing should have proper ventilation and the right lighting. Ventilation is necessary so that sufficient air exchange can happen.
The two main benefits of free-range farming are the higher value of products and relatively low input costs. In terms of the former, she cautions that producers should not simply assume they will receive a higher price for their free-range products.
Free-range chickens are among the healthiest and happiest of chickens, and they produce amazingly nutritious eggs. Plus, they have no rivals when it comes to simplicity. The term “free-range” describes a method of farming that allows animals to roam free outdoors.
Good choices include leafy greens, cooked beans, corn, non-sugary cereals and grains, berries, apples and most other fruits and vegetables. Despite often voracious appetites and a willingness to eat just about anything you might give them, there are some foods to be avoided.
How Long Do Chickens Live? Chicken lifespans vary widely, with most hens generally living between 3 and 7 years. However, with ideal care, they may live even longer. If a chicken is kept safe from predators (including dogs) and doesn't have genetic issues, they can certainly live 10 to 12 years old.
We did not know it was possible. We knew given sufficient land, chickens can survive mostly on forage and scraps. We also believed the common “wisdom”: without feeding a complete and balanced chicken feed formulated for layers, hens can't sustain high rates of laying and their health is likely to suffer.
- Ingredients for success. ...
- Attention to detail. ...
- Desire to learn. ...
- Sticklers for biosecurity. ...
- Access to good water. ...
- Commitment to air quality. ...
- Good litter management. ...
- Minimal stress.
Minecraft EASY Automatic Chicken Farm Tutorial! 1.19+ - YouTube
Have clean water and clean containers and make sure that the water is changed every day. Build a safe enclosure for the poultry birds to stay in. Ensure that the source of food and the food is clean and healthy. Have a proper supply of calcium and other minerals required for the healthy-being of the poultry birds.
The chicken business is very profitable, as people can use chickens for various purposes, such as meat, eggs, and even feathers. Poultry production is one of the most profitable sectors in the United States economy, bringing in around $35.5 billion in 2020.
- Create a budget for the egg laying business and determine if a profit is possible. ...
- Buy suitable egg-laying chickens. ...
- Calculate the feed necessary for the laying hens. ...
- Design a suitable building or coop to house the hens. ...
- Research your area's egg market.
- Dried Mealworms. At 53 % protein, Dried Mealworms are by far our chooks' favourite protein-rich treat. ...
- Dried Soldier Fly Larvae. ...
- Insects. ...
- Seeds. ...
- Non-medicated chick starter. ...
- Sprouts. ...
- Worms. ...
Proper care of 45 days broiler chickens
You need to give anti-stress medication to your chickens two to five days before and after they move out of the cage for rearing. But before you make the move, you should make sure that their cope has been cleaned and disinfected. Only move chickens if the weather is nice.
In short no, chickens won't run away if you let them out of their enclosure unless they're frightened or not used to their surroundings. Providing new chickens have time to get used to their coop and run they will stay close by for safety when they're first set free.
So yes, chickens can stay inside their coop all day as long as they have everything they need for the entire day, including light. If your coop does not have windows you can put in lights and a timer, but that often requires running electric and many people don't want to do that outside.
Surprisingly, yes - chicken really do seem to recognise their owners. In fact, research has shown that chickens are capable of recognising up to 100 human faces, so it won't take them long to learn who their owner is.
How Often to Feed Chickens. Ideally, you should split your chicken's feed into two servings daily. If you're home during the day, you can even make this 3-4 small feedings. Chickens enjoy small, frequent meals as opposed to large meals once a day.