Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by TJPENN, Aug 8, 2013.


    TJPENN In the Brooder

    Jul 16, 2013
    Greenville, TX
    I've read to not feed molding food to my chicks but also read it's great to let chicks in the compost pile. All my table scrapes go into my compost and are either already molded or mold in an hour or two in the damp pile and this 105 degree weather. Are those allowing access to compost compromising the health of the flock? Is there a difference in compost mold and mold in my pantry?
  2. suebee

    suebee Speaks Silkie Fluently

    Apr 1, 2007
    N. Carolina
    In my opinion I wouldn't let them have access to either.
  3. chfite

    chfite Songster

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    I think the confusion is from the caveat not to provide molded feed. If the feed in the feeder is moldy, the chickens have no choice but to eat it. The contents of a compost heap are such that the chickens will dig through it and eat what they want.

    In a compost heap, they are probably eating the bugs and worms preferentially anyway.

    Any moldy feed goes into the compost, but my compost is enclosed.

  4. upthecreek

    upthecreek Songster

    Mar 18, 2009
    South Alabama
    Chris , I Agree with You Shannon

  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'm in the minority here, but I've often fed my birds moldy scraps, bread, those mystery things from the back of the fridge. They have plenty of feed free-choice, so it's not like they're forced to eat the moldy food. They do usually devour it. I know folks get upset when I say this, but I've done it for 20 years and haven't had a problem. I figure a chicken's digestive system can't be that much different than a crow's, and I've seen crows eating some nasty stuff on the side of the road. I also figure if it were dangerous, they wouldn't eat it.
  6. Sassafras

    Sassafras Songster

    Jan 16, 2011
    I have a friend who works for a county health dept. They keep chickens in different locales to test their blood for various mosquito borne antibodies. One day it was her rotation to do testing and feeding and she found lots of sick chickens. They were vomiting she told me. I thought that chickens couldn't vomit on their own but apparently they can from moldy feed. The last person there hadn't cleaned out the feeder and the food was all bad. She cleaned out the feeder and gave them fresh food and they were better in a few days. So yes, moldy food can make your chickens sick if they eat enough of it.
  7. BarredRockMom

    BarredRockMom Songster

    Jun 9, 2013
    I know that there are lots varying opinions on the subject and that's great. Whatever works. As for my girls, they don't eat anything that I wouldn't eat myself. I could eat worms, crickets, grass, clover, slugs and all manner of other bugs, but I choose not to. I WOULD NOT, however, eat anything moldy or rotten so it's MY choice that they don't even know such "things" exist, let alone have that as an option--or Yahweh forbid--the only option!

    Those poor birds kept by the County Health Department had no choice at all and that's just cruel. Foolish & cruel. Not to mention a complete skewing of the results. The person before your friend should have to eat the bad food. The bright spot in the post is the fact that your friend NOTICED the issue, FIXED the problem and FOLLOWED UP to be sure that they were ok.
  8. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Songster

    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    IMO, letting chickens eat from a compost pile that includes food scraps is a risky business. What may not be a problem in cooler winter temps could easily turn into a case of botulism in the heat of summer. I give my girls garden and kitchen scraps but - if not eaten in 24 hrs. - whatever remains is removed and put into the compost bin, which they don't have access to.

    A caution on feeders in humid weather. I have a large one that is in the coop. It's covered and there's no way that rain or water can get in it. I recently noticed that the girls weren't eating from this particular feeder and - upon investigation - noticed that the feed had turned a gray color. Even without water getting directly on the feed, it had absorbed moisture from the air and was getting moldy! We've had a wet summer and it's been terribly humid so guess that's what did it. I threw the feed out and will only fill to what they can consume in a day or two at this point. I store my feed in a "Vittles Vault" airtight container designed for storing dog food.

    I lost a bird last year to what I think was botulism so that may be why I'm so particular about letting them in the compost and moldy feed.
  9. BarredRockMom

    BarredRockMom Songster

    Jun 9, 2013
    Good info Mtn Laurel. We don't let our girls into the compost pile, either. Same reasons as you.

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