1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

Confused on chickens needing "meat"

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by goatkeepers, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. goatkeepers

    goatkeepers Songster

    Mar 31, 2008
    Mooresville, NC
    I've read in several posts now that chickens should have some form of animal proteins in their diet. We have three week old chicks (three of them) and are feeding them the purina starter stuff. Does that have enough protein or do I need to feed them scrambled egg/ hamburgers, etc? I'd much rather raise them vegetarian fed, reason being both me and my DH are vegetarians and it just seems better to eat eggs that are from vegetarian fed hens. This might just be us being weird veggies [​IMG] but ya know...
    Thanks for clearing up my confusion!!
    Oh, and if they do need to have some sort of meat in their diet, when should I start feeding it to them? Thanks. [​IMG]
  2. tx_dane_mom

    tx_dane_mom Songster

    Sep 23, 2007
    SE Texas
    I've never had to add anything to my guys diet (i.e. meat) BUT I do know that when my MIL's chickens started getting abusive towards each other & it wasn't b/c of lack of space it was suggested to her to do that since chickens can be quite canabalistic. She threw some ground meat in there & it helpd a bit...but they ultimately finished off killing the ones they started on.
  3. goatkeepers

    goatkeepers Songster

    Mar 31, 2008
    Mooresville, NC
    That's really scary! [​IMG] I hope my girls won't ever start doing that to each other. They should have plenty of space... What kind of "toys" can I give them/make for them to keep them busy so they won't get bored?
  4. You can hang fun things for them to peck at... Maybe some kind of fruit or vegetable that they really like suspended by a string.

    As a vegetarian, I understand your feelings about chicken feed. However, we have to remember that chickens are omnivores and they need to get protein in their diet. By instinct, they will catch bugs and
    mice and eat them. You might try raising some mealworms for them to eat to provide additional protein. There are instructions for raising them on this site, too. You can also give them black oil sunflower seeds for additional protein.
  5. Ga Chicken Mom

    Ga Chicken Mom Songster

    Jul 24, 2007
    My girls get organic layer feed from Countryside Naturals. The label lists fish meal as an ingredient so its not vegetarian. The starter feed has everything your chicks need right now. I started giving my chicks some organic greens at 3 weeks - start with just a little so they don't get watery poo. My girls are 10 months now and laying eggs. I like to give them extra protein every day - I believe in treats - since I think the layer feed needs some supplementation with fresh food. Besides fresh greens, the girls get yogurt or cheese and a little cooked grain (barley, oatmeal or brown rice). About twice a week they get some of their eggs scrambled or mixed with grain. My 9 girls average 7+ eggs a day, that's a lot of protein going out. What you feed is up to you as long as your chicks are healthy. Some people stick with only chicken feed and some supplement. The feed has been formulated to grow and maintain healthy chickens for the least cost. My chickens really enjoy their treats and their eggs are wonderful. My 9 girls have never been cannibalistic and a beautiful roo has been introduced recently. All get along great. They don't have toys to play with but have lots of room in their run. They do normal chicken things all day like dust bathe, scratch and chase bugs.
  6. hooligan

    hooligan Songster

    Aug 20, 2007
    I feed mine Purina Layena, which has NO animal protein in it but I do buy worms and crickets. I don't like the idea of slaughterhouse floor droppings being fed to my chickens.
    I also add veggies and cook for them, and occassionally add shrimp to their treats [​IMG]
  7. tvtaber

    tvtaber Songster

    Aug 2, 2007
    Central CA
    Bugs are the more "natural" protein source, and they will find them on their own. I would never feed a chicken a hamburger, not becuase they would not love it but because that seems wasteful. My hens love cooked eggs, cooked or raw grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc), cooked beans, soup with bread in it (makes it easier to feed them), and anything else left over from the table. I just take any good looking table scraps and leftovers that didn't get eaten in a day or two and feed it to them.

    I guess my point is, just like people, a chicken's need for protein does not mean they must eat meat![​IMG]
  8. Omniskies

    Omniskies Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    I don't know of any reason why a chicken would need to be fed meat, excluding insects. They should get enough protein from random insects if they are at least partial free range, or have access to a grassy area. We let our chickens roam the yard during the day and they happily chase and devour any insect that is unfortunate enough to cross their path.

    If you're concerned about the protein level you can always mix some game bird feed in with the rest. Game bird feed has 20%+ protein. Another option is feeding them left over hardboiled egg yolks. We boil extra eggs and feed the yolks to our extremely young chicks for an energy burst (day olds get it automatically, and any clutch needing an extra boost get it, as well). We don't feed our hens the yolks, but I don't see any reason why they couldn't have some as a treat from time to time. Just make sure they're fully boiled - you don't want your chickens to develop a taste for raw eggs. That's asking for trouble.

    Be careful with meal worms. While it doesn't happen often, there is a chance of the meal worms chewing out of the crop if they aren't killed before they are fed to the chickens. Back during the reptile crazy, a lot of people lost their lizards and frogs due to their meals lazily eating a hole through the stomach. I'd go with crickets before I touched meal worms. Besides, it's more fun to see chickens chasing crickets.

    Good luck with your hens.
  9. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * The only 'bugs' Miss Chook will eat is rolly-pollies; and they are (surprise!!) really crustaceans. . .I raise them for her in a small plastic container. I DO give her a spoonful of ground salmon/bison dogfood euery couple of days, since all she bothers with are the r-p's.
  10. hooligan

    hooligan Songster

    Aug 20, 2007
    d.k :

    * The only 'bugs' Miss Chook will eat is rolly-pollies; and they are (surprise!!) really crustaceans. . .I raise them for her in a small plastic container. I DO give her a spoonful of ground salmon/bison dogfood euery couple of days, since all she bothers with are the r-p's.

    How do you raise rollie-pollies?​

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: