cat food during the winter?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by iPeanut1990, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. iPeanut1990

    iPeanut1990 Chirping

    May 7, 2014
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Someone on a backyard chickens Facebook page that I'm on says she feeds her chickens warm oatmeal and wet cat food on really cold mornings. I've been giving them oatmeal which they love. I kind of hate buying dried meal worms. They are expensive and get smelly after a while. I just can't do the live ones. Ew... I did try. They gross me out and they all died too quickly anyway so I've been using the dried ones.

    I've heard both yes it's ok to feed chickens cat food on occasion and NO don't do it! So, what's the deal about cat food and chickens? If you DO feed it to your chickens what kind/brand, how much and how often do you give it to them? I would like to replace meal worms with cat food if I can. I know I can buy a 24 box of canned Fancy Feast for about 15 dollars at Petco.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    You should be feeding your chickens regular layer feed. Cat food contains a lot of sodium which as you know isnt good for chickens as well as humans. Excess protein will eventually cause gout in chickens, feed meal worms in moderation.
  3. No need to feed chickens cat food, they don't need the extra protein...

    What they need in the winter is a sufficient level of calories to burn for heat, and regular feeds should provide that without supplementation while still providing a balanced diet...
  4. 2wheelnurse

    2wheelnurse In the Brooder

    Sep 5, 2014

    I'm unsure about what in moderation means. I feed my 7 bantams All Flock and they seem to not like it. They also get dried meal worms (2-3 handfuls a day), some scratch (maybe 8 to 10 oz), and they usually free range during the day. Sometimes I take them an apple or other leftover people food. I haven't the foggiest idea if that is too much or too little scratch and meal worms. Does it sound about right?

  5. IMO way too many 'treats' and likely the reason they are not eating the All Flock... Also I don't know how big your handfuls are but IMO that is a lot of meal worms and a lot of protein for a few bantams...
  6. 2wheelnurse

    2wheelnurse In the Brooder

    Sep 5, 2014
    Thanks for the feedback MeepBeep, I'll cut the meal worms down.
  7. DanEP

    DanEP Songster

    May 15, 2010
    Cadiz Ky
    PEANUT1990 I would pass on the cat food, about the only thing you will get is a boost in the protein with a lot of other things which may be fine for cats but not so good for chickens. If you want to kick up their protein just feed them all flock which is higher in protein already.The main advantage is that it will only cost you a bout 2 dollars more for the all flock than for the layer and gives you a protein boost just like the cat food for a lot less money and effort. Now for the meal worms, in my opinion they are a treat that adds protein to their diet which is fine but if you feeding all flock already you can switch from meal worms to scratch and eliminate the "icky " factor and will be a lot cheaper as well. Just make sure that the scratch is no more than 5-10% of their total diet.
    x2 feeding that many treats is like starting dinner off with a chocolate sundae and then asking the kids why won't you eat your vegetables. I'll bet if you stop the treats for a few days you'll find they like the all flock just fine.Just remember treats are just that and have nothing to do with a good diet And should be no more than 10% of their total diet.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  8. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    The first thing I would do is cut out all the treats and just feed a poultry feed, then I would try to find a feed that contains animal protein and is from 20 to 22 percent protein. There is a big difference between a 20% protein feed that has animal proteins and a feed that is 20% protein and is vegetarian based and full of synthetic amino acids.

    As far as feeding cat food,,, it would be ok if you could find a good cat food that is low in sodium and the first ingredient is a animal protein.
    I myself use a good floating fish pellet and a meat based dog food to boost proteins when needed like during new feather growth and cold winters. I like Bil-Jac frozen dog food, its made of real meat/ animal proteins and very little preservatives but it is 18% protein so that is where the floating fish pellets comes in to play. Between the fish pellets and the bil-jac I add Fish Meal, Beef Tripe, Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Beef Liver, and Egg Product.

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