Can you over feed hens on scraps??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by squelchy69, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. squelchy69

    squelchy69 In the Brooder

    Feb 6, 2011
    Hi everyone and thanks for making me feel so welcome to the forum!

    I was wondering if it were possible to give your chickens too many scraps? When I bought them (only a week ago) the pet shop assistant told me not to give too many yet other people have advised me that you can feed chickens practically anything (except chicken - obviously, and raw potato peelings). I was told that you can even scrape your plates for them.

    I know they need to have grit and layer pellets aswell as mixed corn but is it ok to feed them so many leftovers?

    Thanks in advance for the advice!

    Jo xx

  2. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    Chickens can eat practically anything (even chicken, mine love it), but scraps like all other treats should be fed in moderation. Too many scraps can lead to nutritional issues and fat hens, which will cause a decrease in egg production. The only time my girls get more than one bowl (small cereal bowl) full of scraps between the 6 of them (7, but my cross-beak usually can't eat the scraps that I bring out to them) is if they are getting something like greens, which have a lot of air space in them compared to denser foods like leftover beans and rice.
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Some people (I have read their posts is all) on BYC say treats should comprise no more than 10% of the total feed. However, what I do is, when we have leftovers that are going to go bad soon and I know we won't eat them, I dole out enough that the chickens will enjoy them, but that they will not eat the whole day on it.

    So, leftover spaghetti for mid-day meal for the chickens equates to, any other snacks must be served the next day unless they are vegetables (something other than bread products).

    If I also have a loaf of stale (not moldy) bread, that goes out the next day. I'm just giving examples- we usually keep our bread in the freezer and just give them the ends.

    Yes- if you give them endless bread treats they might not eat their layer feed - and the total protein in their diet would drop = poor egg production.
  4. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

    Jun 11, 2010
    York PA
    Uh actually you can feed them chicken. I gave mine the neck bones from our turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas. [​IMG] The additional protien in meat is good for them. I think of treats as "candy" for them. They get a little every day but the majority of their food is chicken feed. The feed is balanced food with the proper vitamins and minerals and other stuff that they should be eating. You want healthy chickens, not fat malnourished chickens. [​IMG]
  5. squelchy69

    squelchy69 In the Brooder

    Feb 6, 2011
    Wow! I'm surprised you can give them chicken - I was told not to! Still, you live and learn. So thanks for that.

    I will limit their scrap intake then. I admit, I have been giving them quite a lot of veg peelings etc. I will lay off that for a bit and just give them a small amount as a treat.

    Thanks so much for the advice, as a newbie to chicken keeping, it's great to have somewhere to turn!

    Jo xx

  6. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The only real problem with treats, IMO, is they're not a balanced diet -- unless they are. I have no problem with giving mine a bunch of something I consider a meal -- say a casserole with meat and veggies in to. I figure it's comparable to their feed. Bread is not, so I give them only a little (they love it.) I think the 10% restriction is to avoid overloading them with one nutrient so they get shorted on another. Seems to me with a little common sense you can give them whatever you have. And mine love chicken, too. Any meat or fish, for that matter.

    You might be interested in this:
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:Well, I would have to say, how is your egg production?

    1. If your eggs that you are getting are numerous, and the shells are nice and thick
    2. If your girls' feathers look good
    3. If your girls are nice and heavy- not skinny under all those feathers

    Then you are probably doing just fine!!! My heart sank a little when you said you won't give them as many veg. peelings. Make sure you are overdoing it first!!!

    Also in the learning center there is a treats chart:
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:They don't need the mixed corn, but they do need a balanced ration of layer pellets (assuming they are laying) or crumbles (or mixed feed as I do). Corn is only around 7-9% protein. Layer pellets are 16-20% protein.
  9. squelchy69

    squelchy69 In the Brooder

    Feb 6, 2011
    We are currently getting 2 eggs a day from 3 hens. We did get 3 a day for a couple of days but that appears to have stopped. I don't know if one isn't laying or if 2 are laying on alternate days. But 1 is definitely laying every day as she has a slighty darker egg so I can tell. They are all lovely and fluffy. I've only had them a week but they seem the same size. I will check out the treat chart and monitor their scrap intake. I don't really give much bread, it's mainly veg and peelings so I'll definitely see if it's ok to carry on with the current amount. I thought you had to give mixed corn as well as layer pellets. This forum is fab for learning new things!!!

  10. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:I'm getting 9-12 eggs a day from 12 hens. So we are about the same. This is their pullet year though - they aren't older hens.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011

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