"Slop bucket" or free-style scrap food?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by wildocean, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. wildocean

    wildocean Hatching

    Dec 30, 2014
    I am replenishing my free-ranging flock in the spring and am curious what the best setup is for providing 'scraps'. Previously my girls (all layers) ate only what they found, plus layer feed and scratch (and dried meal worms as treats). I would like to raise my new chicks to eat more 'leftovers' but was wondering what setup works best for this? A bucket or trough? In the coop or in the yard? Just scattering the food?

    Also, do people bring the food in at night? I had read that things like extra fresh fish (legal size but 'untasty' species) are great to give the birds, but am concerned about how to reduce attracting predators (or even just rodents etc.)

    Finally, it seems that people do a lot of 'prep' with their food (chopping, cooking, sometimes even adding spices!), and I would prefer something a little more low maintenance (i.e., give scraps to chickens instead of compost heap).


  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road 5 Years

    Nov 7, 2012
    I am also interested in the response to this question. While I want to give my girls plenty of scraps, and even let them pick a chicken or turkey carcass, I'm concerned about the unsavory creatures that might be attracted to my yard if poultry bones are left out... and it's not possible to be sure they are all picked up because the girls will grab a bone and run just as far and as fast with it as their little feet will carry them! Then, there's the concern about my cat getting a poultry bone.

    Wildocean: I can tell you that I keep all of the supper scraps in a plate by the sink to feed to the girls the next morning. If it's a bunch of soft stuff, I just dump it on top of their FF. If it's bones to pick, I've been letting them have them in the coop which is sealed to predators... or letting them have it in their yard if the temp gets up to 20*F, then I pick up the remnants at the end of the day.
  3. pdirt

    pdirt Songster

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    We have a 6 qt old stockpot we keep in the run to feed them scraps. Mostly grain, egg and veggie scraps. No bones because we use them for stock and I don't want to have to seek them out in the run to keep predators at bay. We never give them more than they can eat in a few minutes. Also, I don't want them stuffing themselves on low protein scraps and want them to get the bulk of their food from their feed, unless of course they are free ranging.
  4. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Songster

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    If it's soupy or runny stuff I put it in an old pan that stays out in the yard. Anything else I just throw it on the ground. Between the dog, cats and chickens it gets ate up quickly.
    If you regularly leave scraps out overnight it will attract preds. I always leave a pan of dry dog food in my barn for the cats and I often see possums sitting side by side with the cats eating it.

  5. ChristieB

    ChristieB Songster

    Dec 13, 2014
    When I was growing up we had a lidded bucket under the sink, after a meal any left overs on the plate plus peelings, ends, old fruit and veg left in the fridge too long, burnt toast, moldy bread at the end of the bag (basically any food you would compost, except avocado and green potatoes) goes in the bucket. When we collected the eggs we took the bucket and dumped it on the ground of the pen and used the empty bucket to put the eggs in. That's how my grandparents did it and probably their parents too (before that they were in Germany so who knows lol)
  6. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing 5 Years

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    There's no reason to make it more work for yourself. I have 2 buckets by the sink. One for the kitchen waste for the chickens and one for the compost pile (coffee grounds, things chicken won't or shouldn't eat). The chicken bucket gets dumped in the run otherwise the dog will pick through it. If you spread it around, most will get some of it. Every few weeks I will rake out the run to remove the corn cobs, rinds ect that they have picked clean and toss them in the compost pile. The chickens know exactly where the regular compost pile is and scavenge through it regularly. It's the perfect place to find grubs, various bug larvae and worms. They will speed the breakdown of the pile by months just by keeping things stirred up so we both reap the rewards. Your chickens will benefit and enjoy animal protein leftovers but I would make sure every last bit was cleaned up before nightfall. That's reason alone to have a visit from a hungry fox or raccoon. (my magpies run off with the leftover bones)

  7. shorttimer

    shorttimer Chirping

    Aug 25, 2014
    Morro Bay, Ca
    Sounds like the 2 bucket method will work pretty good. It's well known that chickens will eat almost anything and there's only a few things they shouldn't eat. From what I've seen on many videos, chickens actually know what is good & what is not. In other words usually won't eat what's not good for them. In the small coastal town where I live it's amazing how many critters come out at night. Not long ago I saw both raccoons & possums in my yard on the same night. The raccoon looked to be 35-40 lbs. I know I'll have to have everything buttoned down pretty tight with the tasty treats for the chickens around. I'll leave a couple of videos that may interest y'all.

  8. Aust1227

    Aust1227 In the Brooder

    Aug 4, 2014
    I work right beside a nursing home. They have 72 residents. When I first got pigs, I made an arragement with the chef that they would seperate all the food waste from the normal trash, and I would pick it up on a daily basis.

    I average about 40 pounds of food a day.

    About a week ago we had to slaughter one of the pigs early. As a result, I have had lots of extra food.

    The nursing home serves a buffet breakfast, and cooked to order lunch and dinner. So most of the leftovers are eggs, gritts, muffins, bagels, and ext. They are leftovers from the breakfast line. I pick through the slop bucket and get all the grain based food and feed it to the chickens (the pig gets the meat and the "slop"). They love it! I feed this to them every afternoon. Their AM feeding is locally ground chicken food.

    So far so good.. And my food bill was WAY down last week. They devour the scrambled eggs and oatmeal first.. Then the bread. Then the grits.

  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Sounds like a great arrangement!

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