Feeding bread to chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bawkbawkbawk, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. A friend gently admonished me for giving pieces of bread to the ground birds on my property.

    Later that same day I was handing out bits of pizza crust to my hens, who voraciously gobbled it up but then I suddenly worried I was harming them by giving it to them :eek:

    I honestly worried that I would find them sprawled lifeless in the coop the next morning. Death by pizza crust. But they were fine.

    Are chickens different from other birds when it comes to diet? Is their digestive system different?
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  2. RUNuts

    RUNuts Free Ranging

    May 19, 2017
    Eastern Houston
    Nope. Bread is junk food, just like for humans. Lower in protein, high in carbohydrates. But it tastes great! Might make your hens and birds fat if you give them enough. All things in moderation is fine.

    I give leftover breads to my birds. A little is fine.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Any left overs or scraps go to my chickens. Chickens have been scavenging off the table of humans for centuries. While I would not buy bread to feed them, any left overs they get.

    Mrs K
  4. Anagram

    Anagram Songster

    Apr 28, 2009
    Southern Oregon
    I agree. Bread is ok. Dehydrated rice is a no-no as it swells. I give all sorts of left overs to my chickens, everything from vege bits when cooking to scraping the plates after dinner. Generally, whatever is on the plate, I feed them. Okay for me = okay for my chickens.

    I have always given previous flocks leftover chicken also, although my kids are grossed out that I would make cannibals out of my chickens, but this current mixed flock I have was absolutely and clearly horrified when I put a leftover chicken carcass out for them to "pick clean". I have always done this and never had a problem in the past, but nope, not with this group. I removed it as soon as I saw their reaction. I felt terrible because they were so stressed out by it. In the past my other flocks would just happily descend on the carcass and pick it clean. Interesting. I have a moral flock of chickens now lol!
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  5. My chickens love to eat chicken. Only the humans are mortified by this
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Chickens are not that different from other omnivores. They can and do eat a lot of different things when they can, vegetarian and meats. They do quite well on a varied diet, just like you. But also like you, too much of a good thing is not a good thing. You can feed them a huge variety of foods, just feed them in moderation.

    Like the others, my chickens get left over breads too. They get left over abut everything.

    If you check into it you'll find that the fear of rice swelling is a myth. There are a lot of foods that swell when they get wet yet the chickens and other animals can eat them fine. mine have eaten dry rice without a problem.
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  7. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    Mar 11, 2017
    South Park, Colorado, USA
    I'd rather give them a stale bit of bread now and then or a pizza crust than just throw it in the trash. Not the healthiest snack, but I'm not one for wasting food. The chickens or the dogs get just about everything.
  8. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Songster

    Mar 21, 2016
    Maine, USA
    My Coop
    Some complex carbohydrates can be difficult for chickens to digest. Of course they will happily eat bread, but, as @RUNuts said, it can lead to obesity and other health issues in excess.

    We have a strict no-bread policy for the girls, but I doubt small amounts would cause any problems. The only bread we eat is our homemade sourdough... It's so good we make use of every last crumb of it (literally)! There's nothing left over for the chickens even if we were inclined to let them eat some bread :)
  9. Anagram

    Anagram Songster

    Apr 28, 2009
    Southern Oregon
    I did fact check and because there is so much conflicts no data out there, checking further was needed: I love snopes because they will actually do the research for you. So snopes says "False". Even consuming the rapid amount that would get eaten quickly at a wedding (as opposed to eating in the rice field where it is more time and work to obtain each grain of rice) sounds like it would not tear/burst the crop, which is my concern. Here is the snopes article, with ornithologists quoted.


    I think anything in moderation not spoiled of course.
  10. Anagram

    Anagram Songster

    Apr 28, 2009
    Southern Oregon
    Well yes. That had been my experience also until this flock. Maybe because I had 4 of them eaten by something out here in the country and we have bobcats, tons of hawks, foxes and other meat eaters here. And the others watched?? I don't know.

    Anyways, that partially eaten carcass was to much for them. Totally freaked them out. Maybe it still looked too much like a chicken. They would not touch it. I left it there for a while thinking they would get over it, but after a few tentative pecks, they all avoided it like it was a snake. My other flocks have all loved the leftover Costco chicken carcasses and I tend to leave it in the black pan that they come in for ease of delivery, so they look like a chicken carcass - again, my other flocks all just eat them up. This flock won't - they know I am their treat feeder also and always go to whatever I throw out there and are so excited for their scraps. I don't know. I just know that this flock won't eat a chicken carcass. Let me clarify that that will eat any other form of leftover chicken I have given them.
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