High Protein Treats?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by HollyWoozle, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. HollyWoozle

    HollyWoozle In the Brooder

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    I have had my six ex-battery/caged hens for about 2.5 weeks now and they are doing really well. They are eating layers crumble/mash as that is what they are accustomed to but I am starting to mix in some layers pellets so they get used to those. They have occasionally had a little mixed corn as a treat late in the afternoon.

    I understand that growing new feathers requires a lot of protein and was wondering whether to incorporate some high protein snacks a few times a week? Several of them are quite bald and are growing new feathers. I know they shouldn't have snacks or treats until later in the day when they've mostly filled up on proper food.

    What high protein treats do you recommend? I know that scrambled egg is a popular choice, as well as peas, mealworms and all sorts of other things.
     
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  2. The Phantom

    The Phantom I love birds!!! Premium Member

    Cat food is good.
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

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    I'm curious if your rescues are laying eggs or not.
    Mealworms, crickets and any kind of meat or fish will work. Cat food can vary dramatically in protein percentage.
     
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  4. Chickens are supposed to be the decedents of dinosaurs like the mighty T-Rex. Therefor a good protein for growing feathers needs animal based protein. Almost any proper sized pet food with meat, fish, blood, bone meal, or dairy byproducts will fill the bill. Pig chow, a good kibbles type dog food with "tankage' or products like Calf-Manna, etc also works well. I have also used canned dog food to good effect.

    I use to have a farm pond stocked with shiner minnows. I used these minnows as fish bait. Because it was necessary to keep the shiner population down to a dull roar so that the minnow population was in line with their food resources, excess minnows, especially the smaller ones were thrown to the hens and roosters in my chicken pens. Despite their feathers being as shiny as new money, these hens and roosters were absolutely frantic to claim their share of fish bait. It sorta of reminded me of geeky college kids from the 1920s swallowing whole gold fish head first. I also sometimes fed cotton tailed rabbets that I shot for the sin of raiding my vegetable garden. I am not keen on poultry meal etc. It's high protein content is mostly feathers and feathers are hard for a chicken to digest.

    Boiled eggs IMO are a lower fat treat and boiled eggs are more easily divided when you feed them, and if you have many birds, boiled eggs are more easily cooked. Peas, especially raw peas are a poor food for chickens and you will often find that they absolutely refuse to eat raw peas. I suspect that sometimes the peas listed as an ingredient in some chicken feeds are in fact peanut hulls that came out of a shelling plant. While high in protein peanut hulls or shells are difficult for your chickens to digest. Elephants or hippopotamus can digest peanuts easily, but chickens, not so well.

    Meal worms are the larva stage of the darkling beetle. This insect is a serious, and did I mention dangerous pest in commercial chicken houses. They spread the eggs of internal parasites as well as dangerous germs and viruses that they pick up from their environment and the poultry litter, manure and chicken feed laying on the floor in commercial broiler chicken operations. These poultry houses are an awesome place to produce meal worms. Meal worms also destroy buildings by boring into the walls and insulation of buildings including homes while looking for a place to metamorphose into adult beetles. But like I said about apple cider vinegar, your home or chicken coop belongs to you (hopefully) so knock yourself out in the meal worm department, just know the truth.

    http://www.poultryhub.org/productio...environment/pest-management/darkling-beetles/
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
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  5. HollyWoozle

    HollyWoozle In the Brooder

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    They are laying quite well. We have about 3 eggs a day on average, from the 6 hens, but I can't say for sure if they are all laying (but I have seen most, if not all of them, in the nesting boxes). One of them was looking a bit under the weather yesterday and then laid an egg without a proper shell but it was a hot day by our standards and she looks better today.
     

  6. HollyWoozle

    HollyWoozle In the Brooder

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    Thanks for the helpful info!
     
  7. boz

    boz Chirping

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    I use hole corn, crack con, laying mash, and sunflower seeds
     
  8. Aerliss

    Aerliss Songster

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    Just be aware of UK laws regarding feeding animal protein and dried mealworms to chickens.
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

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    I'm aware of the concern about bovine encephalopathy and regulations regarding use of ruminants in feed on commercial animal farms. But do you know of any rules that prevent feeding mealworms or canned fish to a backyard flock in the UK?
     
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  10. Aerliss

    Aerliss Songster

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    BHWT has a write up on mealworms;
    http://www.bhwt.org.uk/information/mealworms/

    I think they have one for animal byproducts too, or at least for kitchen scraps. But there's the legal jargon heavy document on the government website regarding meat, fish, etc. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/supplying-and-using-animal-by-products-as-farm-animal-feed

    The rules re other animal products are not just for commercial properties, but any animal that is considered by law to be livestock, even if it's kept as a pet.

    It's not as if DEFRA have cameras in the sky or anything. But I think folks should at least be aware of the (really dumb) laws that exist.
     
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