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Moldy scraps: this is the Car Talk "save our marriage" call!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by dukecitychick, May 11, 2009.

  1. dukecitychick

    dukecitychick In the Brooder

    Mar 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    OK, I'm not saying who's on which side of the issue, but there was a "discussion" in our house last night about feeding moldy asparagus to chickens. Our chickens are egg-layers, not pets, and while we do find endless hilarity in their antics, we would not take them to a vet or anything expensive like that. We are also fairly new to chicken ownership, and both come to it with both pre-conceived and recently-formed opinions.

    So, what I'm looking for is SOLID EVIDENCE about whether moldy/old vegetables will hurt chickens' digestive systems. I know that some people won't feed their chickens anything they wouldn't eat themselves, and others let their chickens free-range in the compost pile in addition to eating any and all food scraps. People don't usually eat moldy bread, but bread mold isn't actually toxic (to us). Obviously poisonous plants like rhubarb leaves, buttercups, and all the usual suspects are off the plate, but does anyone have an actual instance of chickens eating spoiled X,Y, or Z that caused obvious issues?

    Our case had to do with moldy/slimy asparagus - it was beyond cutting off the bad parts, and our choice was to compost it or to feed it to the chickens. An argument ensued, but no one had solid evidence on either side! So I'm looking for either "I fed mine moldy whatever and they all dropped dead", or "I've been feeding mine moldy whatever for 40 years and they all lay two eggs a day."

    Help me out here, people! Evidence, not opinions!

  2. thechickenchick

    thechickenchick Born city, Living country

    Mar 8, 2008
    Eaton, Colorado
    I do feed mine things I would not serve my family. Such as mushy strawberries or brown cauliflower. I guess I don't have "solid evidence" but I have never had a bird die from a stale cracker or a mushy cucumber. (I would have fed them the asparugus!) oops sorry that was my opinion!!
  3. 92caddy

    92caddy Egg Lover

    May 18, 2007
    Portland, IN
    I feed all of my birds, moldy stuff and stuff we get out of the dumpster from in town, I havent had any die yet.................
  4. shaggy

    shaggy Songster

    May 11, 2009
    Orange, Texas
    i've seen chickens eat their own poo

    ...... not sure which one is safer though ... poo or moldy veggies
  5. Kansaseq

    Kansaseq Prairie Wolf Farm Asylum

    Feb 12, 2009
    NE Kansas
    Moldy food can give off toxins that can make animals very sick. We've had dogs come in the ER who had gotten into the trash and eaten moldy bread/food. They usually come in vomiting and seizing, and have to be hospitalized. Not saying this will happen 100% of the time, but it's not a good idea. I don't feed moldy food to any of my animals. Not worth it.
    Last edited: May 11, 2009
  6. MoodyChicken

    MoodyChicken Songster

    Feb 15, 2009
    Northern California
    Aspergillosis is caused by mold. It's a serious respiratory infection, not pleasant, very fatal. Penicillian resistance will result from feeding too much moldy food. So if you ever needed to treat them with penicillian it will do no good. Never feed any animal spoiled foods. It's just not good. Rancid fats will completely destroy the intestinal lining over time. Algae in water can potentially be toxic and will kill very fast (blue green algae). ... just to name a few others. Overly ripe food is safe, but spoiled or moldy food is not for any animal.

    shaggy, poo eating is a perfectly healthy... but gross... habit. Many species "recycle" their droppings because many nutrients are not usable until after they've left the body. So they eat the poop and gain access to a bounty of nutrients. Of course parasites can become problematic...
  7. dukecitychick

    dukecitychick In the Brooder

    Mar 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    MoodyChicken - Do you have any anecdotes? I'm looking to get beyond the "It's just not good to feed chickens moldy food." I'm willing to believe you, I just want proof.

    I guess a related question is: What is the difference between moldy layer pellets (which no one seems to feed) and moldy people-food? Is it the fact that when you open a bag of moldy pellets it's probably FULL of fungal spores which would be much more likely to have respiratory implications?

    It does seem much more economical to feed the chickens whatever we can, so I want examples of why we shouldn't feed them icky produce.


  8. Chicken Fruit

    Chicken Fruit Songster

    Feb 25, 2009
    Echo Homestead
    Generally, unless you have a retarded chicken from a shallow gene pool theyre not going to eat something sickening.

    I've fed mine soured fruit, moldy bread, and slimey veggies. They dont eat the yucky parts- they DO have tongues after all, and dont like yucky tastes.
  9. I have fed them mushy vegetables. Doesn't seem to bother them. My chickens get into the compost pile on their own, too, and sometimes there's moldy food in the compost pile, dry as can be and they scratch it up so it's in the air. Not one has died yet.
  10. Lobzi

    Lobzi Crowing

    I found some moldy walnuts and other kinds of nuts. I fed them to my chickens and all were eaten with out negative issues resulting. I guess I would not make a habit of it, but so far it seems to have been OK. Oh also, they dined on moldy bread without any problems that Im aware of.

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