Cat food?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Chicken Judy, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. Chicken Judy

    Chicken Judy In the Brooder

    Dec 14, 2014
    Newnan, GA
    I've see several post about giving my girls cat food and tuna. Whats this all about? I have 8 RIR's how often and how much should I give them? /Thanks for help
  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Here's a link to BYC's Treats Chart. Scroll down to the bottom and read the comment about why cat food is not so good for chickens.

    Meat is fine for chickens, although you don't want to give too much of any one food, of course. Most chicken feed has no animal source protein, and I think it's getting to be generally accepted that some animal protein in their diet sould be better. Of course, they get some bugs, but probably not enough on their own. Certainly they are meat eaters -- if you've ever seen one go after a cricket, or even a mouse! You may have to do a bunch of fine chopping with things like a slice of beef, though.

    I really have no idea what a correct answer to "how much?" would be. I would split a can of tuna among several chickens. Msaybe someone smarter than I am will come along.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
  3. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    I try not to supplement my birds diet by more than 10%, for their own good...
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    People do it to add animal protein which has a complete complement of essential amino acids.
    As long as the birds are getting a complete feed, it's usually not necessary.
    Excess amino acids will increase uric acid, will result in more ammonia in the bedding and can overwhelm liver and kidneys.
  5. Madviolin

    Madviolin In the Brooder

    Jan 6, 2015
    I feed just a few pieces of cat food during and after molt to help them keep their weight and grow faster better feathers back. Never used tuna though....
  6. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Songster

    Jun 10, 2014
    You see it because a lot of people around here seem to have this idea that feeding chickens all sorts of crap is a good idea.

    There are very few things you can feed a chicken that improve it's health - the better chicken foods are pretty close to nutritionally complete.
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO

    Also, not all cat food is created equal. Some is lower in protein than chicken feed.
    Some people have trouble reading ingredient and analysis labels for some reason.
    It may work in a pinch but cat food is intended for a cat's nutritional needs. Chickens aren't cats.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  8. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    There are 4 main reasons people feed cat food to poultry.

    - To add proteins
    - To add animal proteins
    - Readily available
    - Compared to other better choices better fitted for poultry it is cheap

    If you're feed a good poultry feed that is 18 to 20 percent protein and contains animal protein, there is no real reason to feed anything else to a average backyard flock.

    Now anybody that knows me on this site knows,
    One that I feed a high quality mix
    Two that I breed and show poultry
    Three I do "supplement" with "stuff" like carnivore fish pellets, canine pellets, Bil-Jac frozen, pigeon grains etc.
    And four I like to see animal proteins and products in a chicken feed. If there are no animal proteins in a feed I will not use it...

    The thing is that the average backyard chicken that is meant to lay eggs only needs a good poultry feed that is 18 to 20 percent protein and contains animal protein.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  9. Spangled

    Spangled Songster

    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    I would never knowingly give my chickens cat food unless it was a life or death situation and I wouldn't eat the eggs for at least a month afterward. At least.

    Tuna, though, is a different story!

    The main reason I have given my chickens tuna is to prepare for breeding season. Those two - three weeks before I begin collecting eggs (and while collecting eggs) are critical for a great hatch in my way of thinking ... and my experience. I supplement their normal complete feed with about 1/2 ounce per hen per day to make eggs with high hatchability. I have also been know to raise their fishmeal intake also.

    There are a whole bunch of strategies for preparing hatching eggs to produce extra-healthy chicks. Feeding extra animal protein for a few weeks before collecting eggs is one of them. Not it's not necessary. I just get really high hatch rates and healthy chicks which in turn means I will only have to complete one hatch instead of two when I prepare the hens (and cocks) ahead of time.

    Edited to add: Usually layer feed is just that ... "for layers" and not for breeders. You can hatch eggs from hens on layer feed, but just because a hen can produce an egg doesn't mean that egg is ideal for hatching.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  10. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    Why is that??

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