Fish meal and cat food as a protein boost


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10 Years
Aug 5, 2009
north shore of Lake Erie
Some of you have mentioned feeding fish meal and cat food to your chickens occasionally to increase their protein during the winter months and when free-range time is limited, in order to decrease feather picking. I'm wondering what sort of fish meal and what sort of cat food? My cat food is chicken based which seems just wrong to feed to chickens - but I notice my goldfish get "fish meal" flakes. Is that the sort of fish meal I should be feeding my ladies? How much and how often do you do this? (My ladies have free-choice access to Purina Golden Layena - a Canadian feed with bumped up omegas. I also provide them whole corn, raisins, and home made whole wheat and nut bread daily for treats; eggs and oatmeal, occasionally.)
I agree - cat food isn't the greatest - I know many give it to their birds though.
If its for a quick protein boost, then once or twice is probably fine. I wouldn't feed it to them long therm though.
Black Oil Sunflower Seeds or even just recycled eggs are a good source of extra protein. If I have eggs that aren't getting used - I'll just scramble them up shells and all - and feed it back to them.

Oh, and as wrong as it seems, my chickens LOVE left over chicken from dinner ....
Having read about feeding cat chow on other posts at BYC, I picked up my cat's food yesterday and looked at the ingredients. The high meat-based protein is the first ingredient and should be a good supplement--supplement, not main source of feed.
Thank you for the information. I have my birds on a very good commercial ration which I believe really should be providing them everything they need. Thanks for the tip about avoiding cat food for supplementing protein. I gather the problem is not the fact that it's meat based but rather the methionine that is present in cat food and the damage that can do to chickens so I'll be avoiding that particular source of protein even as a treat! I do feed eggs whenever they are cracked or excessively soiled (shells and all). I'll make an effort to feed them more eggs and might try some hamburger from time to time too. I also like the idea of mealworms so I'll check that out with my local pet store. (My birds appear to be VERY healthy. They have been egg laying machines all winter. I suspect the real root of the feather picking problem is boredom because we've been coop bound for SO long this year. But just in case it's protein, I figured I'd look into it.)
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