Feeding Ground Burger as a Protein Source

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by tdbrueggen, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. tdbrueggen

    tdbrueggen Out Of The Brooder

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    I had this thought, and I hope it is as logical and sound as I feel. But I want others' input here.

    First off, we all know that chickens are not shy to eat meat. But who has a whole lot of extra, cheap, meat laying around for chicken feed? Texans! Along with plenty of other midwestern folks, we have a severe feral hog problem. I just recently confirmed they are on my 22 acre farm in SE Texas and am planning on removing a few. I hope I don't offend any animal lovers, as this is not my intent. But it's so bad that the state of Texas basically says "shoot them on sight, and don't feel bad about it".

    But personally, I do feel bad about wasting anything. Even the big stinky boars that no one wants to eat. I'll gladly stock my freezer, but with as many as I've seen (a herd of at least 15-20) my freezer will fill up quickly. So I was trying to think of other uses, when it dawned on me, animal feed!

    Here is my plan: if I kill a hog and don't have freezer space, I'll grind the whole thing into burger meat. I'll then cook the meat to ensure no bacteria/disease/worms are present, and then dehydrate or pressure can it for long term storage as needed. Then I can feed it back to the chickens whenever I want to give them some extra protein. I figured I could also use it for fish food in something like an aquaponics setup, or even in a catfish pond I suppose. I think the little dehydrated kernels would work great for a floating fish food.

    Again, the meat would be fully cooked and properly preserved to remove any risk of transferring disease.

    It's not out of the norm to use animal waste for animal food after all. Even the best "natural" feeds for chickens have fish meal in them, and some even have bone meal and feather meal. Most commercial fish foods have fish meal in them even.

    So my question to all is:
    1) Has this been tried?
    2) Are there any proven results?
    3) Are there any scientific arguments against it (emotional arguments don't count).

    I'm planning on going hunting soon and would love to have an outlet thought up if I get more than I can handle myself!
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Cooked meat scraps are excellent for chickens.
     
  3. tdbrueggen

    tdbrueggen Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. I'm aware of that. I guess I was looking for first hand thought on people that have intentionally cooked/processed large volumes of meat with the intent of using it as feed or a subsidy along with the usual grains and scratch.

    I'm thinking if I cook it down and brown it, that I'll drain a lot of the fat away and be left with a pretty dry burger mix. I thought I might go one step further and boil it to try and remove every last bit of fat from the burger, so it would be a pure protein product. If the goal was to dry it (dehydrate) it would help if all the fat was out of it. However, I think some fat would be good for them too.

    So then my thought was to separate the fat from the meat for storage reasons, and then later I could basically blend the fats back in with the meat, or use it in warm mash diets fed to the bird, mixing it in with a grain mash or something.

    Ideally I will have no waste, while also feeding my birds on the cheap! If I can make it work, I suspect there are plenty of folks (pretty much every Texas landowner) that would gladly have me remove their feral hogs.

    It will be a lot of leg work up front to grind/process and store the food, but if I can master the art of doing it on a large scale it could be well worth it. Depending on the shelf life, I could knock it all out in one weekend on an annual basis.
     
  4. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: I've done large amounts of deer meat for my dogs.
    It's a lot of work, but if you want to do it, it's "free" food
     
  5. tdbrueggen

    tdbrueggen Out Of The Brooder

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    Funny how things aren't really "free" when you figure in time. But I think if I can get a big enough pot to do 40-50 lbs of burger at a time then it may be worth it. Especially if I can find a way to basically make it cook itself (stirring) while I work on something else. Maybe if I boil it then it will self-stir enough that I won't have to worry about it. Plus if it's boiled then I could just let it cool (theoretically) and skim the fat leaving behind a nice fat free burger ready for packing/storing.
     
  6. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    I used a 15-20 gallon galvanized "washtub" over a gas fish cooker in the barn. I'd boil it until it would fall off the bones, and then I'd remove the bones and shred the meat as much as possible. Next I'd add enough rice to soak up all the liquid, and portion it out into "sandwich bags" to freeze. although it could be frozen in any containers By doing it in bags, I could just grab one for each dog and easily know they all got the same amount. For chickens, larger containers would work well.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
  7. tdbrueggen

    tdbrueggen Out Of The Brooder

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    Yeah, I was thinking on some sort of large pot. I have a 30-40 quart pot for crawfish boils. That should be enough to do I would think 20+ lbs at time. I can easily freeze or can it, but my freezers are pretty well prime real estate and already occupied with a bunch of beef. I really like the idea of some sort of dry storage, hence why I think I'd like to dehydrate it. But I think a commercial level of dehydration would be pretty pricey. I wonder if by boiling I remove all the fats, then I could all but just let it dry on a rack. Maybe then bag and, and freeze it to kill any bacteria that jumped on while drying.

    Canning could be done as well, but again, that takes a lot of time and energy, and all the jars take up a lot of space. I guess I need to do some more research on how to process it for long term storage, instead of just speculating on here.

    Thanks for the input. I'm looking forward to giving it a go!
     
  8. wekiva bird

    wekiva bird Chillin' With My Peeps

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  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'll have to send my honey down to hog hunt with you--he's so eager to do that! I'd love to have all that excess meat for the critters. I've never been in a position to preserve meat for critters--it's always been for people, but in your position I'd do it in a heartbeat. I'd just raw pack the meat, don't need to cook it then pressure can it, you're basically cooking it twice.
     
  10. Rettarain2

    Rettarain2 Out Of The Brooder

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