Feed scraps to chickens is good
- More sustainable to produce part of your feed
- Less waste in a landfill
- Good nutrition for the birds
- Saves money on feed
- Chickens really, really, love table scraps or anything different than laying pellets and crumbles, like going out for dinner!
“As far as the “Yuck!” factor of using road kill, most pets that are euthanized at a vet or animal shelter wind up in the local rendering plant where they are cooked down and the oil sprayed on pet food for flavoring..”
What’s Good, What’s Not?
Feeding Table Scraps to Chickens
Chickens will eat about anything that a human will eat. Table scraps, canning waste, fruit or vegetables going bad won’t hurt the birds and it won’t disrupt their nutritional balance. They aren’t going to eat citrus rinds, banana peels, or avocado skins, shouldn’t eat green colored potato peelings, and probably won’t eat onions unless they are finely ground and mixed into other foods. Just watch what they leave behind and put that stuff into the compost bin.
Regular potato peels are fine. Vegetable scraps and seeds, any kind of meat including fish of any sort, oatmeal or any cereal left over from breakfast. Bread, lettuce, pepper tops and seeds, bones that have meat left on, fats, over ripe bananas, lawn clippings, weeds, almost anything that grows, crawls, or flies. Crushed egg shells and shells from shellfish are all edible, old yogurt, milk turning sour, pumpkins, squash, watermelon or watermelon rinds.
If you are generating more scraps than can be fed to the birds such as after a holiday meal (and yes, that turkey carcass should also wind up in the coop) you can freeze it in small batches for later use. The chickens will drink any broth or water left over from cooking potatoes or pasta, just use a separate bowl to keep their main water supply clean.
People also use road kill, both cooking it and hanging it over the coop for a ready maggot supply. Wild animals killed by cars are fairly safe but to be sure cook before giving it to the birds. They will eat it raw though but you never know if that wild animal got ran over because it was sick and moving slow or if it was just dumb or unlucky. Wild animals are also carriers of disease and parasites so cooking it is the only way to go. As far as the “Yuck!” factor of using road kill, most pets that are euthanized at a vet or animal shelter wind up in the local rendering plant where they are cooked down and the oil sprayed on pet food for flavoring. Some of these products coming out of rendering plants are used in cosmetics too! Rendering plants will take any kind of animal that is rejected at slaughter houses or found dead laying in a farmer’s pasture. Fish guts or offal from butchering any animal or fish are okay to feed raw as long as it was freshly killed.
If you have ever seen people buying or picking up free rooster on Craigs lists or the Facebook groups chances are they are going to be fed as live food for reptiles but some will grind them up for feeding chickens. I wouldn’t feed too much chicken back to your chickens and I would cook the meat before feeding but moderate amounts aren’t going to cause problems or disease.
As long as you have high protein commercial feed available at all times the birds won’t overeat on scraps, if they are craving protein they will eat the pellets or crumbles. Raising show birds especially meat birds can be a different matter so be a bit more selective in feeding them.
What are your thoughts and experiences? Leave a comment or more info on feeding table scraps to chickens below in the comment section.