Every time I go out on the pasture, I have to feed the chickens some scratch feed. They come running out, eager for a treat, and it’s really hard to look at all those expectant faces and disappoint them. Besides, it’s a good practice. By feeding your animals kinda-sorta by hand, they come a lot tamer, you become a lot more attached to them, and you get a good look at them, close up and in good light.
I didn’t always do this. For a while, I just kept the range feeders topped off and didn’t feed anything by hand. But the whole exercise of poultrykeeping became mechanical — just another chore. And the free-range egg biz doesn’t pay anywhere near well enough unless you enjoy it. Things got better when I started using scratch feed again.