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Yes, Free-Ranging is the very best! Poultry can only free-range during the day and are extremely susceptible to predators, so they need to be protected at night in some kind of pen (also in bad weather). While in the pen they need to eat, so this is when the feed or grains are nessesary. It is extremely important to give them what they need as close to what they would normally be finding in nature. Natural oyster shell, grass clippings and weeds are what I use to supplement their diet when in the pen. My ducks relish good healthy living dirt, they seem to always find something in there, most likely bugs, microbes and other small organisms (somethings they eat the dirt like a fine piece of cheese). They know instinctivelywhat is good for them, I just have to give them the right environment for them to find what they need to live to their optimum. When free-ranging I give them lots of sunshine, natural grass and natural clean ground to roam through.
I have heard allot of very negative things about Soy Beans in the diet, they are in most every kind of animal feed. I am looking into finding a source of Soy-free feed for my ducks. Can you point me to some sources of information about how important it is to remove Soy from animal feed?