Feeding fish to your flock

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by birderPK, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. birderPK

    birderPK Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    22
    Jul 19, 2015
    Hello there

    Since I don''t feed pallets to my birds, I want to offer them fish as a source of protein?

    Now can I feed raw fish to my chickens, ducks and turkeys??

    If yes, how often should I give them uncooked fish?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    22,364
    3,599
    506
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    You can feed it raw if not rancid. It still needs to be in a form they can nibble and swallow.

    One caveat is that you don't want to feed so much that you have fishy tasting eggs.
    Fish being about 60% protein, you don't need much.

    I was trying to figure out how to feed fish heads but I didn't think it was worth the trouble.
     
  3. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    You can, but in quanties more than 2-5% of the total diet, it is likely the hens will produce fishy-tasting eggs.

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by not feeding pallets. Do you mean pellets? If so, I would warn you to be very cautious. Feeding a home-mixed diet is not something to be taken lightly. Modern laying hens and meat birds are the most engineered animals in the world and they have strict dietary requirements. A lot of thought must be put into the proteins, fats, carbohydrates, mineral and especially calcium levels and percentages of the feed, what grains and feedstuffs you are using to make this mix, if everything is bioavailable to the birds, etc. It can be done but it is not something that should be done if one does not have the proper knowledge and time to create a balanced homemade mix.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. HeritageGoose13

    HeritageGoose13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,201
    105
    148
    Apr 24, 2015
    What is the species and source of your fish?

    Goldfish from the pet store are a big no-no.

    Also, what else do your birds eat?
     
  5. birderPK

    birderPK Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    22
    Jul 19, 2015
    I am not professional. My flock is small and they are doing well without the poultry feed. I feed them all sorts of grains including corn, wheat, millet, sunflower seeds, lentils etc. I try different quantities, for instance if I see birds leaving a certain grain in the feeder after eating others, I would reduce its quantity etc.
    Some additional greens and peels for ducks and turkeys.
    Rest whatever worms and insects they can get on their own.

    I live in Lahore where summers are quite warm(upto 45 degrees Celsius) and in winters the coldest day would be -1 to -3 max, normally it is less cold. Maybe my birds benefit from the climate
     
  6. birds4kids

    birds4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    443
    45
    101
    May 15, 2015
    They are not engineered, they are selectively breed and we backyard keepers often keep varieties that predate commercial feed. You act like chickens can exist without commercial feed. Scientific understanding of nutrition and commercial feed are very very new compared to the chicken and chickens that freerange will seek out things they need.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    By engineering I mean selective breeding. A very, very high level of selective breeding to the point where they may as well be engineered.

    The nutritional requirements of most hatchery quality birds today are essentially on par with those of White Leghorns used in nutritional studies. Heritage breeds and true show quality forms of birds like Wyandottes or gamefowl may have different requirements and I would encourage those breeding them to tweak their diets as needed - after doing the necessary heavy research. Home mixing is possible but is not something that should ever be taken lightly. We aren't able to correctly feed today's birds a home mix thrown together with no knowledge of poultry nutrition, because these aren't the birds from 100 years ago when there was no such thing as commerical feed. The average laying hen 100 years ago laid 100 eggs in a year. The average laying hen today lays 300. They've progressed that far because of selective breeding, in part, but they wouldn't have be able to without commercially formulated feed.

    I'm not saying don't mix your own feed. But for god's sake do the proper research beforehand. Know what the protein, carboyhydrate, calcium, vitamin, etc. requirements are. Know which feedstuffs are most bioavailable to them. Know which contain potentially harmful toxins. Don't just look at the ingredients on a feed bag and guess.

    I personally would never trust my birds to understand their own nutrtional needs and allow them to run wild eating whatever they pick out of the dish. I mean look at what's happened to humans now that we pick and choose our own diets and pick and choose poorly to boot. Health issues and obesity everywhere.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  8. HeritageGoose13

    HeritageGoose13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,201
    105
    148
    Apr 24, 2015
    Modern breeds have lost their instincts, heritage breeds have not.
    You do not need to be a scientist to keep chickens!

    Everywhere? No, only in areas with high levels of processed foods. Obesity is considered one of the "diseases of civilization." Look it up.
    It is the same thing with dogs. You see how sick they get when they are fed dry kibble instead of raw meat.

    Yes, they are for many of us. Some breeds have been around for more than a thousand years.
     
  9. birds4kids

    birds4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    443
    45
    101
    May 15, 2015
    Get into cornish cross and you may be onto something far as how selective the breeding is and requiring a specific diet to get maximum productivity and even at that I believe maximum productivity is the issue not health of the bird. They are still just chickens.

    Even the white leghorn "the" production layer is a breed recognized well back into the 1800s, don't think there was a lot of scientifically designed and widely available feed.

    I think you are very confused about the age of chicken breeds and just how recent a development commercial feed is.
     
  10. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    No, you don't need to be a scientist to keep chickens. But you should know what you are doing if you're straying from the recommended path. Pretty much anything that comes from a commerical hatchery is a modern breed; I don't care if you call it a Plymouth Rock or a Rhode Island Red; it's bound to have been crossbred and mixed and selected for maximum egg production and come from birds that were raised indoors for many generations. These birds don't have much instinct left.

    Rocks and Delawares and RIRs are no longer heritage breeds excepting those strains and lines that have never been obtained by hatcheries, but have been
    kept by breeders for many decades. Those birds are rare and constitute maybe 10% of all backyard chickens out there. These birds may benefit from additions to their diet, but would still do well to have a base of commercial feed.

    Of course some breeds have been around for thousands of years. Mostly Asian Hardfeathers. Asian Hardfeathers are not something that thrive on a sole commercial ration, but they are also quite rare and anyone who wishes to keep them should research their requirements. But the idea that it's fine to treat birds like they have been for so many centuries is a notion that badly needs to be dispelled. Birds have evolved more in the past 50 years than they have in the thousands before. Excluding, yes, those rare old-type lines and exotic breeds that hatcheries haven't been able to dilute and change yet.


    Calling Cornish Cross just chickens is like calling a Lamborghini just a car. They're made for one thing and they excel at it, and they require a very specific diet to do it well.

    The idea that the White Leghorns one might have found on the coasts of Italy centuries ago shares much of anything with today's Leghorns is certifiably false. I doubt that even the show lines of today resemble very closely those birds. A really, really good egg layer in that day and age might have produced 150 eggs. Might have!

    People act like just because commercial feed is a recent (if you can call 50 +/- years "recent") creation it is untrustworthy and unnecessary. Do you know how many millions of dollars have gone into research of the nutritional needs of poultry? Using both white egg and brown egg layers, most of which share much with today's hatchery quality breeds? The creation of commercial feed resulted in a huge jump in the creation of better poultry which resulted in these new birds, created on a higher quality of feed, requiring this new quality of feed to upkeep their hightened production and body maintenance needs.

    Edited to add: And once again I am not saying don't mix your own feed! But know that commercial feed is ideal for the vast majority of modern chickens and do tons of research and no what you are doing before home mixing!
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by