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Has anyone here gotten old produce from their grocery to supplement their chicken feed?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Back when I was raising reptiles and poison dart frogs, I raised all my food animals, including fruit flies, termites, mealworms and crickets. I wanted to keep my costs down so I asked my local Publix if they would allow me to take the old produce they were going to throw away, and they allowed that. I am considering doing that again for the chickens - mainly for cheap supplementation of their feed and letting them 'free range' the produce that I put out for them - don't want it in the chicken run/coop due to moisture issues.

 

 

I was curious if anyone else employed this method and how well it worked for you all.


Edited by Seatrout00 - 12/19/15 at 5:12pm

Life and ink, they run out at the same time, or so said my old friend the squid. ~ Jimmy Buffett

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Life and ink, they run out at the same time, or so said my old friend the squid. ~ Jimmy Buffett

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post #2 of 6

Laying hens should have a very good base diet;  I'd recommend something like Flock Raiser, 20% protein, with oyster shell on the side.  You will be lowering the protein content of their total feed with lots of produce, and altering the whole nutritional profile.  Free produce sound pretty good, though!  Also, feeding outside of their safe coop and run will attract critters better avoided like dogs, raccoons, opossums, foxes,  all of whom will be happy to eat the stuff at night and threaten your flock.  When I stopped feeding treats and stuff outside of the run,  predator visits went way down.  Mary

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Mary, that is something I didn't consider - the critters. We have a resident opossum that we've actually named, she's so common in our yard. She's been such a fixture of our yard for so long, and has never been destructive, that I nearly forgot about her. Of course, she'd be interested in those eggs!

 

We are working hard to build a critter safe coop - hardware cloth, bricks, the works, but its still something to think of.

 

I am also planning on raising mealworms as they are so easy and don't stink up the house and escape, like crickets - so they will have protein ... still, your reminder that excess produce would lower their protein level has me reconsidering. Perhaps I could just do it on occasion, and maybe keep the bucket in the garage and only feed enough for the hens to eat in one go. In addition, we might not feed the produce at all during the summer, due to fruit flies. I hate fruit flies all in the house.

 

Thank you, Mary, for your advice.

Life and ink, they run out at the same time, or so said my old friend the squid. ~ Jimmy Buffett

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Life and ink, they run out at the same time, or so said my old friend the squid. ~ Jimmy Buffett

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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

OH - and I have already decided to add oyster shell - in fact, where we are building the coop, there is a ton of oyster shells under from a few trips to Apalachicola - perhaps the chickens will peck at them - but I have a small metal dish that will hang on the side of the coop that will hold ground oyster shell for the ladies.

 

In Florida, where our soil is so high in calcium (after all, its just sand and ground shells) there is absolutely no excuse for a calcium deficiency in my hens.

Life and ink, they run out at the same time, or so said my old friend the squid. ~ Jimmy Buffett

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Life and ink, they run out at the same time, or so said my old friend the squid. ~ Jimmy Buffett

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post #5 of 6

My parents own a deli and all the food waste/scraps get thrown into buckets which I dump in the chicken run. When they see those buckets they come running. They love digging through it and have it devoured in no time. I have had no ill affects of doing this and it definitely keeps food costs down a bit. 

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

That was what I was thinking of doing, but with small bits as we won't have more than 5 hens. Any large leafy greens would just go in the compost.

Life and ink, they run out at the same time, or so said my old friend the squid. ~ Jimmy Buffett

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Life and ink, they run out at the same time, or so said my old friend the squid. ~ Jimmy Buffett

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