Girls want TONS of meat and fat...?!?!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Kjirstyn, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Kjirstyn

    Kjirstyn In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2013
    My girls have always been a little weird in that they just don't care about green stuff. They'll eat stuff that's still growing (especially my tomatoes, darn them) but they won't eat any kind of produce I toss in their tractor.

    But they'll eat ANYthing if it's meat/fat/bone. They just never get tired of it. They love venison and beef, eat chicken [cooked] with almost terrifying enthusiasm (even the bones) and they love other forms of protein as well- eggs, cheese, raw milk curds, etc.

    Obviously the first thought is that they're deficient in protein, but there's no reason for it-- they have a quality organic feed always available to them and they get two hours of absolute free range every night, which they tend to use for dust bathing more than eating.

    So what I'm wondering is-- do chickens just prefer a more carnivorous diet and it's just mainstream knowledge that has slapped them with the reputation of being mostly vegetarian? I know the perception of 100% vegetarian is obviously totally wrong, but just wondering if my girls are excessive in the protein department or if that's more historically normal than the grain we think is normal now. I'd blame it on the cold, but they did this all summer too, so it's not that.

  2. DStewart PDX

    DStewart PDX Chirping

    May 25, 2013
    Portland, Oregon
    Mine go crazy for protein and fat! BUt just because they will eat it all doesn't mean it is all good for them. They are just like us and will overeat. Hopefully an expert in the BYC community can give you advice on how much meat you should give them.
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    If a chicken were foraging on their own (not given treats), they would eat any animal they could swallow whole. That would mean mice, frogs, crickets, beetles, worms, etc.. I don't believe they overeat anything unless they are only provided something like corn. A diet of only corn would be a problem just as a diet of only lobster would be a problem.
    Their instincts tell them to take advantage of any animal protein source they can find. Without those protein sources they would be limited to greens and seeds.
    In a free range situation with pristine forage, they'll eat a balance of seeds, greens and animal protein.
  4. Nutcase

    Nutcase Songster

    Dec 2, 2012
    My Coop
    My chickens LOVE meat but I don't give them any fat after seeing them gag on it in the past. They pick lamb legs clean, but seem to equally love fruit and veg. They are happy and lay well so I don't worry about correct portions and ratios.
  5. chfite

    chfite Songster

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    I was butchering a deer the other day. The chickens and the dogs all were helping. Put a turkey carcass in the run after Thanksgiving dinner; and they will have it to nothing by the next day. They are the ultimate in re-cycling, it seems.

  6. Janet Pesaturo

    Janet Pesaturo Chirping

    Sep 30, 2013
    Bolton, MA, USA
    It does not surprise me. To my understanding, the protein content of feed is as low as it can be to maintain good health, because protein is the most expensive part of the feed, not because that's how much protein chickens would choose to eat. Given freedom and good foraging habitat, chickens will eat protein whenever they can get it. I've seen them eat small mice and toads whole, and they seem to have an endless appetite for worms and grubs.

    If your birds get to run around on grass and weeds, it may be that they get as much green food as they could ever want. My chickens get excited about greens only in winter, when the grass is covered with snow.
  7. I am no expert, just 60 years of experience speaking, but I have said it once, I said it twice, and I am about to say it for a third time. "If you value your life even a little bit, don't fall asleep in your chicken coop." [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'm betting your organic feed doesn't have animal protein. I know some folks say it doesn't matter, but I think your hens are telling you it does!

    chickens are absolutely omnivores, lots of folks don't realize that and think they're veggie. Well, I'm an omnivore, too, and I sure love my protein and fat, especially from animals! I mean, greens are good and all, but meat and fat are where it's all at.
  9. Nutcase

    Nutcase Songster

    Dec 2, 2012
    My Coop
    Well said, donrae! My chickens were going crazy for meat until I switched them to a feed higher in nutrition, and now they just stroll up calmly and start pecking away. I think they know what they need.
  10. In my experience the thing that chickens like most about green food is the seed heads and seed pods that form at the top of grasses and sedges. Otherwise they could care less unless they have been deprived of green food for a while.

    No organic chicken feed can have animal protein in it because of the uncertainty or maybe its the certainty of animals eating GMO feed grains. Then add all the half truths and full falsehoods that some inside the organic industrial food complex spouts about eating meat and it becomes even more likely that organic chicken feed is a meatless chicken feed.

    It is a lead pipe cinch that those chickens are starving for a complete protein. Don't forget that vegetable sources of beta carotene are such an extremely poor and incomplete source of vitamin A that it would not surprise me to learn that a human with a carrot in each hand died from vitamin A deficiency.

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