Second Brewer question: Hops

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bovine0001, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. bovine0001

    bovine0001 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 14, 2011
    I have read that some feed their chickens hops.

    Hops come in pellets, which disintigrate in the brewing process and is really easier to wash down your driveway. They also come whole of course, and after being boiled in hot sweet wort (is what we call beer before we add yeast and before it is alcoholic) the hops are usually discarded. These spent hops are likely low in the alpha-acids, so they probably don't have their antimicrobial factors still (this quality is transferred to the beer, hooray [​IMG] ).

    Being new to chickens, I wonder how they give them to the chickens and how much? Is there much value if most of the good stuff has been extracted from the hop?

  2. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Maybe good roughage - but I am just throwing that out there. [​IMG] I don't know.

    I would start feeding a small amount at a time - and just as a treat, not their main food source [​IMG]

  3. bovine0001

    bovine0001 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 14, 2011
    That is good advice. Start small, go slow.

    I guess the tough part I have in this kind of think, is that I don't know chickens well yet. It will be obvious if they do not like the hops and don't eat them, but if they eat them and there is some negative consequence, I don't think I would know what to look for.

    I might play the better part of caution and try to avoid feeding them any significant amount though.
  4. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    Without knowing the specific nutritional value of anything in particular, it is always best to think of it as a treat, and limit it to 10% of rations, or less. Chicken's love corn, but you would not want them to gorge themselves on it. It is not a complete and balanced diet, even though chickens might eat it it to the exclusion of other healthful grains. We give chickens a lot of credit for eating what they need, but do not take into consideration that while a chicken might avoid what is poisonous, they can overload on the "candy and cake" type treats we give them because they are readily available to them, by our own hand.

    We are responsible for what our chickens eat. Whether they are limited to only the run or are free ranging. A complete and balanced diet has scientific study to back up what is put in feed. That is why it has a label listing the nutritional value of what is in there. The flock raiser of old did not have this advantage we do in modern days. Even bagged organics have labels on them. As a concerned flock raiser you want to feed what is nutritionally best for your chickens, and understand the importance and limitations of feeding treats and foodstuffs of unknown nutritional value.

    Lots of people may poo-poo on this and say, well, I give my birds scraps and corn and they look alright and give plenty of eggs. Feeding a balanced and proper diet ensures your chickens are going to have the best health their genetics provided for them, and should be more disease free than taking a crap-shoot by letting the chickens figure out what is best by eating only what they like. They are smarter critters than we sometimes give them credit for, but instinct can only go so far. You need to be a responsible livestock raiser to those under your care.

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