We’ve made it a habit to top up the duck and chicken feeders in the evening, when our feathered friends are heading home to roost. This way, they have a feed in the evening, before bed, should they wish, and it is there ready for them in the morning whilst they wait patiently (well, maybe not the ducks) for us to come and let them out.
During the day they wander the garden, eating goodness knows what; bugs, worms, snails, assorted greenery, and the odd lettuce leaf we feed them. And during the day, the various other garden birds (mostly of the Finch variety) come and try to eat any and all leftover chicken/duck food.
If I go to collect eggs mid-day, when I come around the corner of the hedge I am greeted with absolute panic as these wee little thieves try to get out of the coops before I go in. Not always successfully.
I never really thought about whether I should try and hinder them eating the chicken/duck food, that is until today when I read this post from The Prairie Homestead ‘Wild Birds Out of the Chicken Coop‘.
On the one hand, yes, these little fellows can eat a lot, and we don’t wish to encourage the bigger birds as they might become more interested in the eggs, rather than the feed. But on the other hand we do like to feed the wild birds of the garden, and chicken/duck food is actually much cheaper than birdseed. Disease could be an issue, as mentioned in The Prairie Homestead, but since our chickens and ducks are free ranging anyway, I am assuming they have the potential to encounter all sorts of nasties en-route in their ‘big, wide world’.
So, do we feed the wee wild birds from the chicken coop, or don’t we? Hmmmm.