New to raising chickens. What to feed them?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by farmerkevin, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. farmerkevin

    farmerkevin Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2013
    Ok. I've searched a bit. I'm on my phone so its kind of a pain. So please forgive me if I'm beating a dead horse here. My apologies :)

    My question is, of the following things, what is ok and not ok to feed my chickens. I am a non certified organic grower. I grow using organic methods. No pesticides, artificial fertilizers, nothing that isn't natural. I make my own compost out of leaf material and yard clippings. What I have growing right now:

    Oranges (Valencia, cara cara, satsuma, Algerian, Washington)
    Lemons (eureka, and an unknown)
    Limes (Mexican lime, bearss)
    Apples (johnathan?)
    Peaches(hale haven)
    Asian pear/apple
    Plums (white, Santa Rosa)
    Grapefruit (star ruby and an unknown)
    Cacti (for prickly pear fruit)
    There's more but it escapes me at the moment

    Plus I garden almost year round when the gophers let me haha

    I grow in the garden:
    Sometimes carrots

    It depends on the year and wether I have heirloom seeds. I'm bad about saving seeds :( I forget.

    So what on my list is edible for the chickens and what is a big no no?

    Right now, they're enjoying some apples :D although I'm not sure they should. They seem to LOVE them though.

    Oh and the commercial feed I bought has 15.2% protein. I read they should have more(?) someone I know suggested dog or cat food. The catfood I buy has 30% protein and I'm not sure on the dog food.

    Sorry for the long post. I plan on keeping these chickens until they die a natural death. These are my pets. Maybe food if I have too. I will be eating the eggs though. So I want to make sure I give them the proper care :)
  2. Achio

    Achio Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 1, 2013
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    There is a lot of controversy as to whether citrus is good for them or not. I put it as probably OK but questionable, probably not worth the risk.

    Avocado is a big no-no. They contain persin which can be a problem.

    Everything else looks fine. Many fruit seeds, like apples, contain trace amounts arsenic, which frightens some people, but the dosage in apple seeds is so tiny it won’t affect them. It won’t hurt you either, if you happen to swallow a seed.

    Since you are keeping them more as pets than for production, you are not trying to squeeze the very most and largest eggs possible out of them. They’ll do fine on that 15.2% protein feed.
  4. farmerkevin

    farmerkevin Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2013
    Thanks gals. Yeah they're more for pets. Food too, but I have mixed feelings on trying to get huge eggs. I will be eating the eggs, but don't NEED for them to be prize winning guiness world record holder eggs.

    Oh. Forgot that I also have grapes. They didn't do too well last year, but this year they exploded with growth so maybe I'll have some this year.

    I don't want to rely on feed stores. I don't always have money. I barely make it month to month, so if I can grow food for them, all the better. And healthier for them. And I.

    Oh and next season, I plan on growing corn. I will plant only heirloom non GMO seed. I have regular and se (sugar enhanced), so what would be better?

    So what about lettuces, chards, kale, etc. I don't usually eat those but I can learn to like them haha.

    And herbs? I have mint (unknown and chocolate) and stevia, roe(ruda?? Not sure what they said it was. Its supposed to be for upset stomachs an stuff)

    Basically everything in my yard is edible. I have roses which are edible for humans. Not sure about chickens.

    So what else can I plant? What else should I avoid?
  5. kpgoldstar

    kpgoldstar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2013
    West Coast of Arizona
    Most chickens will go for the greens like lettuce and kale. Mine also get lots of herbs. I scatter the blossoms from basil and tarragon in the run and also toss in large sprigs of thyme and oregano. This helps to keep the coop smelling nice and also gives them something to do during the day when I'm not home. Pecking all the leaves and seeds from the blossom heads keeps them occupied.
    I have picky chickens but they also like squash, like butternuts and pumpkin.
  6. kpgoldstar

    kpgoldstar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2013
    West Coast of Arizona
    Oh, and I also scatter rose petals in there when I dead-head. Mine will eat those.
    I also read your location on another thread. With all that fresh fruit and organic veggies, can I move in with you? [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  7. farmerkevin

    farmerkevin Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2013

    My yard sounds better then it is. Everything is a year or 2 old. Some up to 25. They produced only a small bit last year. Next season, it should be more :D

    Oh and I really do have a room for rent :) been looking for just the right person. Must MUST love animals. I have 2 dogs, 2 cats, chickens, and the occasional odd "pet." I've had fish, bunnies, hamsters, guinea pigs. I have friends that bring me weird stuff. Had a few centipedes, parakeets, snakes. I usually try to find them homes because I can't afford them. Oh. And had some craw dads we caught by hand.

    But I am down to 2 dogs, 2 cats and 4 hens/1 rooster.

    Oh oh oh. My friend just brought me a passion fruit vine. I had one that is not doing so well, so after nursing it, I decided to get another one. I'll continue to nurse the one, and if it comes back, I'll plant it elsewhere.

    So can chickens have passion fruit?

    Glad you mentioned roses are edible for them. Have about 10-15 of them newly planted. I love the smell, and the edible factor.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
  8. farmerkevin

    farmerkevin Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2013
    Thanks for the suggestions gals. I went grocery shopping for stuff not currently producing.

    Gave the chickens:

    Apple. Loved it. They strutted around proudly with it in their mouths haha

    Banana. Loved it too. They ate it so quick they didn't have time to strut around haha

    Strawberries. I have some in the yard, but not producing ATM. They loved the strawberries.

    Carrots. Not a big fan. Just picked it up and threw it around no attempt to eat it.

    Corn on the cob. Got organic non GMO cobs. The rooster dove right in. The hens are hesitant. Probably because its bigger than theyre used to (large cob cut in half)

    Romaine lettuce. They loved it.

    I have eggs that are going bad in the fridge. I am ashamed to admit I got them at Costco. Some of the blandest tasteless eggs I have ever gotten. Kind of the reason I decided to get chickens. They popped up just in time. As I was looking for chickens, these popped up for free.

    Thankfully there's a store called fresh and easy around here that has a discount refrigerated section. Can get all kinds of produce that is on the cusp of expiration for sometimes pennies on the dollar :)


    Just remembered I also have guava, pomegranates and strawberries. I have so much here, its hard to keep track of it all.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  9. TheChickenKing

    TheChickenKing New Egg

    Jun 7, 2013
    Perth WA
    My hens love the inside of a coconut, I have the drinking ones and split them in half, they go mad picking all the inside off.

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