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Liver and Onions anyone?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by suebgbr, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. suebgbr

    suebgbr Songster

    Apr 16, 2012
    Bolton, England
    I know chickens can eat everything (and usually shouldn't) but I was wondering. I have just got rid of an absolute plague of crawly, bitey things and remember that liver is good for iron and replacing blood cells.
    I have a batch of liver and onions in gravy at the back of the freezer. If I reheated this and let it cool to warm, would it be ok to give them or is raw meat better? Can they have raw liver?
    I know you guys are going to suggest broccoli and other green veg but this lot must have been kids in a former life cos they turn their noses up at it!

  2. adni02

    adni02 Chirping

    Feb 4, 2013
    I would like to know about it also
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    What do you mean by “I know chickens can eat everything (and usually shouldn't)”? Chickens are omnivores. They eat practically anything that doesn’t eat them first. In their world it's "Do lunch or be lunch". There are some things they shouldn’t eat but those things (plants mostly) usually taste so bad they won’t eat enough to harm them anyway. One bite almost never harms them. It takes a certain dosage to cause harm.

    Animal protein is a natural food for them. They normally love mice, frogs, and snakes. They will scavenge practically any dead animal they find. Some people toss road kill to them for the extra animal protein. Hunters often toss them body parts and stuff the humans don’t want. When I process a chicken, I keep a bucket handy to put certain things to feed back to them.

    To not feed them some animal protein is unnatural. I only buy chicken feed that has animal protein as an ingredient. I supplement the animal protein when I can. They’d probably love the liver and onions. It doesn’t matter if it is raw or cooked.
  4. Tara80

    Tara80 In the Brooder

    Apr 7, 2012
    I'm surprised no one has said this yet, but onions are toxic to many smaller animal species; including chickens.
    Onions contain an alkaloid that affects an enzyme in the red blood cells that can cause anemia.
    They are not as bad for chickens as they are dogs and cats BUT it *can* cause anemia in chickens if they get too much of it.
    Just an FYI to keep in mind.
    (I guess it's sort of like the chocolate thing with dogs)


    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  5. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I mean, I think it is about balance. I would not give chickens lots of onion every day but I seriously doubt the amount of onion in a standard liver and onions dish for a one time scraps snack is going to harm them just a like one hershey bar is not going to hurt a dog. Lots of things are toxic in large amounts.

    Chickens love meat raw or cooked, muscle or organ.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  6. Tara80

    Tara80 In the Brooder

    Apr 7, 2012
    Oh I completely agree! I'd not hesitate with something small, I just wanted to throw an FYI out there; that it can happen and that it's something to be aware of. Things like that always make me nervous.
    1 person likes this.
  7. tcmstalcup

    tcmstalcup Songster

    Feb 4, 2010
    I would throw it out there. Unless they are VERY hungry they would not eat a dangerous amount of onions and I doubt your liver and onion dish even contains that much. Liver is great for them cooked or uncooked. I often throw the raw livers when processing to the flock. They don't know and don't care that they are eating their friends and why waste something so good for them.

  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You can find anything you want on the internet. I found this at McMurray Hatchery’s site.

    http://blog.mcmurrayhatchery.com/2011/10/04/feeding-your-chickens-table scraps/
    Garlic, onions, and other strong tasting foods – These aren’t necessarily harmful to your chickens, but they may import an undesirable taste to the eggs that your hens lay.

    I also found statements where prolonged exposure can cause problems with chickens. I never found how long and what dosage is considered “prolonged exposure”. I also did not find if there is a difference in cooked onions and raw onions. There was a lot on cats.

    Practically anything you eat or drink can cause damage in excess. People have died from drinking too much pure water. Too much cabbage can shut down your thyroid. Of course you would have to eat a few pounds of cabbage every day for a few weeks for it to harm you. Cabbage can harm your chickens too if they eat a huge amount regularly. But cabbage is a highly recommended treat for chickens on this forum. They are just not going to eat enough to harm themselves.

    Apple seeds, like most fruit seeds, contain trace amounts of cyanide. You’ll see all kinds of warnings about not feeding your chickens apple seeds, but they would have to eat a huge quantity to cause any harm. If I can apple sauce or apple jelly, I don’t dump a huge quantity of apple seeds where they can get to them, though I still doubt they’ll eat enough to cause a problem. I consider that a reasonable precaution. But if I make an apple pie, the cores, seeds and all, go into the bowl of kitchen wastes they get that day.

    You’ll see all kinds of warnings about feeding potato peels to your chickens. Green potato peels do contain a substance that can harm you or your chickens. Regular (not green) potato peels don’t, yet you see the warnings about any potato peels, not just the green ones. It depends on your size and health, but a normal human adult would have to eat about 2 pounds of the green potato peels to have problems. Chickens are smaller so it wouldn’t take nearly as much, yet they are still not likely to eat enough to harm themselves. I still avoid feeding them green potato peels, but if they get an occasional bite I don’t worry about it.

    For practically any of this stuff, dosage is very important. You can do as you wish with onions or any of this stuff, but I’m just going to not give them exposure to much of anything in huge quantities over a period of time whether it is on a list or not. If I know it is on a list and I've checked it out, I am a little more cautious, like hte green potato peels. Just a reasonable precaution in giving them a balanced diet.
  9. Tara80

    Tara80 In the Brooder

    Apr 7, 2012
    I definitely agree; anything in excess can be detrimental, no argument from me there.
    I was just thinking though, that when I cook roast or liver and onions, I tend to put A LOT of onions and garlic in there!!!! I love my garlic and onions.
    Some foods though, obviously, can cause more harm than others for certain animals and breeds (as you said above, including us!) due to metabolism and cellular structure; and I do think that it's a good awareness to have just in case.

    I think there was a post a few days back in the health thread about a chicken bleeding out for no reason, and onions were the first thing to pop into my head.

    I probably worry about it more than I should when I feed my own chickens scraps though (boy they do eat almost everything!)
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  10. debid

    debid Crowing

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN

    Anemia and bleeding out are entirely different things. Bleeding out was more likely consumption of rodent poison (which is often a blood thinner).

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