new chicken owner seeks advice on scraps and etc...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by lilmama, May 25, 2010.

  1. lilmama

    lilmama Songster

    May 2, 2010

    I'm a new chicken owner (hens) and I am wondering what scraps chicken like most and can benefit most from. They are not being let out of the run so I want to give them some fun things to peck and pick at. What about throwing a square of sod in there? I saw the cabbage dangling in another post, I'll try that but looking for other ideas too.

    Also, what nutritional suppliments do you add to their feed, if any. I know the yolks get a lot more golden from things like spirulina and alfalfa, right? My ladies are just a few months old now.

    Thanks for your suggestions!
  2. Chickiemama1010

    Chickiemama1010 Songster

    Jan 16, 2010
    no sod. if they eat grass, it can impact their crop which can cause them tons of probs, eventually resulting in death if not treated, remember chickes dont have teeth and they dont chew things. they need grit to "chew" food in the gizzard. if youre putting it in there to give them "lawn" to walk on, dont bother. they'll tramp it to dirt in no time.

    There is a list of chicken treats that are safe. Offer grit and/or oyster shells, I'll find the list for ya in a sec unless someone beats me to it. But here are a few things MINE like. Doesnt mean yours will though. Chickens have different tastes. example, Some people tell you theirs LOVE plain yogurt. Mine have no interest.

    they do however LOVE fruit. Melon, grapes, berries of any kind, bananas, apples, any fruit. I hear feeding fruit to laying hens can cause them to stop laying. Never happened to me...I give mine fruit all the time. They also like corn, cooked beans, peas, squash/squash "guts",bread, cereal, spinach, just nothing too salty or sugary. I have a thing thats essentially a long thick string with a spike on the end that i spike into a head of cabbage or a zucchini that got away from me in the garden and got huge and woody, sunflower heads, etc. and hang just within their reach from the top of the run. it gives em something to do, and they play chicken tether ball with it, pecking it to nothing but the string in an afternoon

    things they find on their own, or I sometimes will pick from yard and bring them, like dandelions (they go nuts for them) or clover,chickweed, bugs, worms, and the like.
  3. JSGamefowl

    JSGamefowl In the Brooder

    Jul 9, 2009
    Quote:i donno about them not eating grass , because i know my chickens eat alot of grass, if you put them in a pen full of grass they will pretty much mow it , or have you ever noticed all the grass withen reach outside the pen is eatting ? i rotate my birds pens just so they can eat grass ,
  4. catterbug

    catterbug Songster

    Apr 16, 2010
    Thank you for the link to the treats list. I made a copy of it. I gave my girls worms for the first time yesterday and it was SOOO much fun to watch.
  5. Organics North

    Organics North Songster

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    Quote:Mine get organic dirt with lettuce roots, clean chicken poop free and chemical free organic clumps of sod dirt and all.. Sprouts! make yolks yellow, young chicks get clover or alfalfa sprouts, older birds get sunflower, wheat and oat sprouts. Also 10% alfalfa meal. Yep very golden yolks:D

    Yes chickens eat grass and lots of it. My birds free range on a chemical free grass pasture and eat natural organic whole grain diet from young on. The birds also ALWAYS have access to quality grit. Yep they are lawn mowers...[​IMG]

    Maybe problems come from lawns/sod that had chemicals applied within the last few years, or if birds are suddenly introduced to large amounts of grass?

  6. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    I don't agree about the "no grass" thing, either. People free range their chickens all the time...on grass! Scratching through dirt and grass is a chicken's favorite pastime, as far as I have observed.

    Grass clippings could be another matter, though, although many people do throw grass clippings into their runs without problems. The issue would be crop impaction, when the chicken swallows the whole long clipping. In the normal order of things, chickens will "graze" or clip off little bits of greenery with their beaks, not swallow a long blade of grass, etc.

    I offer romaine lettuce because that's what I give our indoor birds, too. Broccolli gets pecked at down to the stalk. After we eat corn on the cob, we give the left over cob to the girls. Sometimes we even give them a fresh, uncooked ear of corn, too. Cantaloupe rinds. We started a mealworm farm in a tub and offer mealworms periodically.

    But the absolute favorite treat right now when we have hens with chicks is a hard boiled egg, mushed to bits. I have to count my fingers after I put the dish down. Feeding frenzy!
  7. lilmama

    lilmama Songster

    May 2, 2010
    awesome! THANKS!
  8. jen5680

    jen5680 Southside Silkie Shack

    Jun 18, 2009
    SW Ohio
    Mine get all the scraps from dinner. I don't think there is much that they won't eat. They love meat the best, burger, hotdogs, and yes chicken. Noodles are a favorite too. Any kind.
    I have been told don't give them fish or onions because it makes eggs taste funny.
  9. Chickiemama1010

    Chickiemama1010 Songster

    Jan 16, 2010
    ok, let me clarify what I meant about no grass.

    I know chickens eat grass. Mine eat grass-tons of it, and mow down a patch of it in no time, and as most of you do, I move the tractor so they arent standing on dirt, and to give the green a chance to re-grow.
    I have never had sour crop. And I guess with proper diet and grit available, depending on the individual chicken too of course, sour crop from grass *shouldnt* be an issue. But, 90% of the sour crop pics and content in the impacted crop I have seen on BYC have been full of grass. So that leads me to believe excessive grass eating could be a highly contributing factor to impacted crops. Therefore, I recomended NOT "feeding" grass as a treat. They'll eat it on their own, of course. but why feed them grass when there are shriveling grapes in your fridge? My son goes through the yard and picks bouquets of clovers and dandelions to feed the chickens. he pokes em thru the wire, and they love it. dandelion stems are not too far from grass.

    I humbly retract my statement on no grass whatsoever. I do however believe there are better treats to feed them than a chunk of sod. And loooong pieces or dry clippings can be bad for them, as Im sure most of you will agree

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