Can I make a flock block with lard?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Mallory8502, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. Mallory8502

    Mallory8502 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2014
    I want to make a flock block with lard, but I don't see any recipes that use lard. Not sure why. It seems to me that some animal fat would be good for the chickens in the winter, am I wrong?
     
  2. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    No, you're right, lard is just not what people think to use anymore. But they are called suet blocks for a reason. Chickens actually do a better job of almost any livestock converting fat into usable protein energy, and mine get heaps of fat trimmings from all kinds of animals. Go ahead and use lard, your chickens will love you.
     
  3. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is news to me. I'm fairly new to chickens, only about 18 months. But most of what I have read is that chickens are not that good at breaking down fats. I know I read it in a couple books, I'll see if I can find which ones. When I butchered about 25 chickens this fall, I noticed that some chickens had gall bladders and some didn't. If they did have gall bladders, I couldn't find them. I know in humans, people can live without their gall bladders, but they have to limit the amount of fats they eat in one meal. I would imagine it would be similar to chickens. Like I said, I don't really know, just seeking clarification.

    But it sounds like your chickens do just fine with lots of fats?

    Aside from that, yes, lard is good stuff! Saturated fats are making a comeback.
     
  4. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hm, I'll have to find some official research on the fat conversion thing as it's all been experiential knowledge from me and other farmers. Here's something on improved feed conversion with added fats. Here's another. I do know that too much wheat and corn are more likely to put fat on a hen than lard or tallow. Too much of anything is not good for any animal. We feed our chickens excess fats because it's what we have on hand and it helps them keep their energy up through the winter.

    I would say not to assume human digestive systems are similar to chicken systems automatically. I've never seen a chicken without a gall bladder (and I have butchered over 500 so far), but maybe they could have been swallowed up in a layer of fat! I've seen that happen before for sure.
     
  5. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, that can the problem with research. Sometimes research doesn't tell you anything useful or people can interpret in ways that common sense would caution against!

    Then there's the difference between feeding day in an day out, lots of "X", fats or what not. Very different from feeding lots of fats on occasion.

    As for the missing gallbladders...perhaps they were just so small I couldn't see them. There wasn't much fat to be hiding anything around the liver. I noticed the Silkies in particular had little to no gallbladder (I just couldn't see them). Other birds had very noticeable gallbladders and I had to take care in removing them so as not to spill bile over everything.

    In humans (as in chickens), the gallbladder is attached to the liver. The liver produces bile which is stored in the gallbladder. When you eat a meal with a high amount of fat, you often use more bile (to break down fats) than your liver can produce in enough time to do it's job, so the stored bile in the gallbladder gets used. I agree that the digestion in the intestines of chickens is probably much different than in humans, but the location and similarity of the liver/gallbladder is so similar in chickens and humans, I can't imagine their function being all that different.

    In any case, I always appreciate people such as yourself sharing your direct experience with raising chickens. IMO, this is as valuable if not more so than most of the research out there.
     
  6. Mallory8502

    Mallory8502 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! I was hoping this was the case. The recipes I saw used coconut oil and I wasn't prepared to spend that much money. My birds have been looking a little underweight. I am worming them this week but I suspect they may be underweight because I switched to Purina Layena feed a couple months ago. They don't seem to like it as much and then I found out it only contains plant proteins. I'm worried they aren't getting enough fat plus flock blocks keep them busy.
     

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