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Feeding food scraps - good or bad?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Lots of us feed food scraps to our chickens, I've been doing it for years. It's a good way to get rid of left overs without wasting food (a practice I hate) and the chickens enjoy it. Some countries like England forbid it:

 

http://www.rvc.ac.uk/Research/News/Backyard-chicken-keeping.cfm

 

And some countries like Belgium and France encourage it to the point of giving away free chickens:

 

http://transitionvoice.com/2012/08/three-french-hens/

 

I understand the British concerns about health and food safety, but on the other hand, the Belgians and the French have a good point. What's your opinions? Do you feed food scraps to your chickens and do you think it's good or bad?

 

“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

 

~ Shel Silverstein
 

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“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

 

~ Shel Silverstein
 

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post #2 of 23

Great articles and information, Sumi - thanks.  Most of my kitchen scraps go to compost but a fair amount goes to my birds - they love it. 

I read the first article but I am unclear on why there is a risk - what exactly is the link between kitchen scraps and disease?  I understand the need to not spread disease but kitchen scraps???  There seemed to be a distinction between catering waste and kitchen scraps but still?  It seems like a bit of a government overreach in my opinion, and pretty difficult to enforce. 

The other article made more sense to me - it seems a sensible way to manage excess food waste.  Just my opinions.  Thanks for sharing, sumi!!

I never considered a difference in opinion, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.  - Thomas Jefferson
Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.  - Ben Franklin
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month.  - Teddy Roosevelt
 

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I never considered a difference in opinion, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.  - Thomas Jefferson
Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.  - Ben Franklin
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month.  - Teddy Roosevelt
 

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post #3 of 23

I give my chickens table scraps almost everyday. I hate wasting food and it keeps my rooster distracted while I gather eggs, he's very protective off his ladies and offspring.

Married 27 yrs. to my best friend. Proud mother of 1 daughter, 1Border Collie,1 Australian Shepard, 1 fat Cat and 50+ chickens

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Married 27 yrs. to my best friend. Proud mother of 1 daughter, 1Border Collie,1 Australian Shepard, 1 fat Cat and 50+ chickens

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post #4 of 23

We give the chickens all our table scraps, including meat. I used to have a compost pile, but right now it doesn't get very much--the chickens get it all. I hate wasting something that can go to make me eggs AND makes the girls so happy. The only thing they seem to turn up their noses at is eggplant.

 

One caveat--we do have over 50 birds, so our daily scraps don't add up to much per chicken. If you feed too many scraps, you run the risk of unbalancing their ration.

The chickens are sold! We sold off 150 roosters, hens, cockerels, and pullets and are down to 10 birds. Three ISA Brown, one Amberlink, one blue copper Marans, four black copper Marans and one blue Ameraucana rooster.
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The chickens are sold! We sold off 150 roosters, hens, cockerels, and pullets and are down to 10 birds. Three ISA Brown, one Amberlink, one blue copper Marans, four black copper Marans and one blue Ameraucana rooster.
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post #5 of 23

I DO give my birds all fruit and vegetable trimmings that have not started to mold or go bad, except of course the usual no raw potatoes or apple seeds or raw beans etc. but they love leftover hashbrowns and eggs from Ihop and fried rice...they will eat pizza (my Daisy hopped right up on my chair last summer and stole a pepperoni) they love cereal, they love when I give them the yogurt or sour cream tub when theres a little left, I even buy discounted produce and greens from the grocery store and they love those too. this week I bought 2 bags of cut rainbow chard and they ate both bags in a week. (Of course the snow here covers all of their forage so it's not surprising) They go bananas over bananas, and sunflower seeds and mealworms of course. The only thing I won't feed a lot of is meat. Daisy ate a mouse once because I couldn't get it away and Ginger caught a wounded sparrow (which I did manage to snatch from her) I know chickens are naturally omnivorous. I have fed them the occasional ham trimmings (and pepperoni lol) but we only buy organic meats so it isn't as bad.

 

What I would NOT do is feed anything that is poisonous (like apple seeds or peach pits) or anything that is going bad or moldy. I also would be hesitant to feed them restaurant scraps from an unknown source. I used to work in a kitchen and I know how much food people waste, it's awful, but I don't think I would want to take home any old anybody's food scraps...Also, I was at Fred Meyer, a local grocer here in town and asked them what they do with their old produce. The clerk said that they used to discount it first and when it didn't sell they would give it away. They did this until reports of people's animals getting sick came back and then they were forced to throw it out. Sooo, I would be a little leery about feeding any old produce...My organic fruit stand, however sells bags of old fruit for a dollar each and I bought several of those back this summer and any old melons they had because all I have to do is crack those babies into 3 or 4 pieces and the birds go crazy....they eat the seeds and all. It's a nice refreshing treat for the hot summer. I was always careful about cutting out any mold though...some varieties can make birds sick.

5 hens: 1 Bantam Cochin, 1 BR, 1 White Leghorn, 1 Ameracauna and 1 SLW. 2 Indian Runner females, a Tortoiseshell kitty and a fiance that puts up with all my bird crazies!
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5 hens: 1 Bantam Cochin, 1 BR, 1 White Leghorn, 1 Ameracauna and 1 SLW. 2 Indian Runner females, a Tortoiseshell kitty and a fiance that puts up with all my bird crazies!
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post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by blondiebee181 View Post

I DO give my birds all fruit and vegetable trimmings that have not started to mold or go bad, except of course the usual no raw potatoes or apple seeds or raw beans etc. but they love leftover hashbrowns and eggs from Ihop and fried rice...they will eat pizza (my Daisy hopped right up on my chair last summer and stole a pepperoni) they love cereal, they love when I give them the yogurt or sour cream tub when theres a little left, I even buy discounted produce and greens from the grocery store and they love those too. this week I bought 2 bags of cut rainbow chard and they ate both bags in a week. (Of course the snow here covers all of their forage so it's not surprising) They go bananas over bananas, and sunflower seeds and mealworms of course. The only thing I won't feed a lot of is meat. Daisy ate a mouse once because I couldn't get it away and Ginger caught a wounded sparrow (which I did manage to snatch from her) I know chickens are naturally omnivorous. I have fed them the occasional ham trimmings (and pepperoni lol) but we only buy organic meats so it isn't as bad.

 

What I would NOT do is feed anything that is poisonous (like apple seeds or peach pits) or anything that is going bad or moldy. I also would be hesitant to feed them restaurant scraps from an unknown source. I used to work in a kitchen and I know how much food people waste, it's awful, but I don't think I would want to take home any old anybody's food scraps...Also, I was at Fred Meyer, a local grocer here in town and asked them what they do with their old produce. The clerk said that they used to discount it first and when it didn't sell they would give it away. They did this until reports of people's animals getting sick came back and then they were forced to throw it out. Sooo, I would be a little leery about feeding any old produce...My organic fruit stand, however sells bags of old fruit for a dollar each and I bought several of those back this summer and any old melons they had because all I have to do is crack those babies into 3 or 4 pieces and the birds go crazy....they eat the seeds and all. It's a nice refreshing treat for the hot summer. I was always careful about cutting out any mold though...some varieties can make birds sick.


I don't think you're going to harm a chicken by feeding her an apple core (with seeds in it). If that were the case, hens would be extinct a long time ago.

The chickens are sold! We sold off 150 roosters, hens, cockerels, and pullets and are down to 10 birds. Three ISA Brown, one Amberlink, one blue copper Marans, four black copper Marans and one blue Ameraucana rooster.
Reply
The chickens are sold! We sold off 150 roosters, hens, cockerels, and pullets and are down to 10 birds. Three ISA Brown, one Amberlink, one blue copper Marans, four black copper Marans and one blue Ameraucana rooster.
Reply
post #7 of 23

Apple seeds contain cyanide, but not in quantity to kill. I give mine apple cores all the time. Now if one chicken was to get 15-20 seeds, it might harm them. but a couple won't hurt them. For awhile I would take the seeds out, but I haven't done that in awhile. 

"Jesus is my Savior, not my religion"

 

Member of the Chatterbox Chooks Club

 

Wanna know how to make a chicken diaper? Check out this article! /how-to-make-a-chicken-diaper-a-how-to-with-pictures

 

Rest In Peace: Crumpet (Click to show)
The actual definition of a "crumpet" - A unsweetened English pastry
 
My Definition of Crumpet: The sweetest thing that ever was. :( 
 
RIP Crumpet. I...
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"Jesus is my Savior, not my religion"

 

Member of the Chatterbox Chooks Club

 

Wanna know how to make a chicken diaper? Check out this article! /how-to-make-a-chicken-diaper-a-how-to-with-pictures

 

Rest In Peace: Crumpet (Click to show)
The actual definition of a "crumpet" - A unsweetened English pastry
 
My Definition of Crumpet: The sweetest thing that ever was. :( 
 
RIP Crumpet. I...
Reply
post #8 of 23

Oh yeah, I'm sure it's fine...and I'm sure mine have had plenty of apple seeds in their lives, I just avoid them when I can wink.png It's the same with tomato plants.....my hens stripped what tomato leaves they could reach last summer bare and were just fine even though most people say they are a no-no

5 hens: 1 Bantam Cochin, 1 BR, 1 White Leghorn, 1 Ameracauna and 1 SLW. 2 Indian Runner females, a Tortoiseshell kitty and a fiance that puts up with all my bird crazies!
Reply
5 hens: 1 Bantam Cochin, 1 BR, 1 White Leghorn, 1 Ameracauna and 1 SLW. 2 Indian Runner females, a Tortoiseshell kitty and a fiance that puts up with all my bird crazies!
Reply
post #9 of 23

Think of the apple seed thing this way--apples evolved to have their seeds spread by animals, birds included. If eating an appleseed or 10 killed a bird or a mammal, there wouldn't be any apple trees.
 

Also, I'm sure that our grandparents didn't fret about throwing the house scraps to the hens and hogs, and there are still hens and hogs in the world. My grandmother used to say that if it weren't for the free eggs (she never fed anything BUT scraps and feed not fit to feed to cattle) she never would have fed her family through the Depression.

The chickens are sold! We sold off 150 roosters, hens, cockerels, and pullets and are down to 10 birds. Three ISA Brown, one Amberlink, one blue copper Marans, four black copper Marans and one blue Ameraucana rooster.
Reply
The chickens are sold! We sold off 150 roosters, hens, cockerels, and pullets and are down to 10 birds. Three ISA Brown, one Amberlink, one blue copper Marans, four black copper Marans and one blue Ameraucana rooster.
Reply
post #10 of 23
Great idea for a post. I mostly give fruit and veggie trim outs myself. I try to give food that is prepared clean. For example a nice stew or Chili. We prepare a lot of meals withlean wild game. I'm Leary of more processed foods like bread boxed foods with preservatives or added chemicals salts sugars. My birds get Meat; rice; cooked potatoes; vegetables; egg shells; fruits. If it looks bad or moldy my birds don't get it.
Edited by Bogtown Chick - 1/7/13 at 8:22pm
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