Table Scraps (How much is too much?)

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by BeckyandHerBrood, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. BeckyandHerBrood

    BeckyandHerBrood In the Brooder

    Jun 20, 2011
    Champaign, IL
    Newbie ????

    My girls are 7 weeks old and have started eating anything we throw their way. We eat pretty healthy around here, lots of fruits and veggies and whole grains. I am a stay at home mom to 3 kids, and we have a lot of leftover fruit and veggie peelings, as well as bread crusts (kids won't eat them). I usually end up with a pie pan full of goodies twice a day. The 7 chickens are eating everything we give them but are eatine less of their chicken feed. Should I be concerned? Or not worry as they are eating a good variety of balanced table scraps?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. cowdogcadillac

    cowdogcadillac Songster

    Sep 23, 2009
    I have a compost pile tat we put all fruit,veg and other scraps into. My chickens stay in and out of it all day. But they still eat their layer. The only things I don't put in there is meat and onions. Give them all the veg and fruit scraps you can
  3. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

    Jan 8, 2011
    Tampa Area, Florida

    I think the rule is that treats should not make up more than 10% of a bird's diet. I feed much less than that, especially to chicks. They still need the nutrients in the starter while they are growing. I personally would treat with only a handful at a time. Fruits and veggies can be kept cold and fed on hot days to help them stay cool. [​IMG] Just make sure they are getting grit.
  4. BeckyandHerBrood

    BeckyandHerBrood In the Brooder

    Jun 20, 2011
    Champaign, IL
    @cowdogcadillac...Do you think that they are only eating 10% of fruits and veggies? Do you actually keep track? Or do you just assume if they look healthy they are healthy? I love that the chickens are happy to eat the stuff we don't, and can only imagine that a diet of fresh fruits, veggies and whole grains would be as good for them as it is for us. I just don't want to harm them by letting them eat too much. I think that it would be pretty tough to tell who is actually getting 10% of the scraps...Some eat more than others.
  5. ninabeast

    ninabeast Songster

    Apr 10, 2011
    Upstate New York
    I have the same question. I know it's important that they eat their crumbles, but I keep thinking of free rangers and what their diets must be. My girls get lots of cut grass, dandelions, dandelion leaves, hostas, etc., things they would eat if they were free rangers. Then I supplement with some chopped veggies, fruit, mealworms, yogurt and eggs. I can't imagine they are suffering nutritionally. They certainly look healthy. They seem huge for ten weeks, to my inexperienced eye, lots of energy, clear eyes and shiny feathers.
  6. pawsplus

    pawsplus Songster

    Dec 18, 2008
    Middle TN
    I don't view fruits, veggies, etc. as treats, but as an important part of the diet. I pick weeds every a.m. for my girls (fortunately I have a huge "yard" (farm) which is insufficiently mowed, LOL) and give them other veggies and fruits several times a week, whenever I have something I think they'll like or something that's about to bolt. They also get raw meat a few times a week.
  7. BeckyandHerBrood

    BeckyandHerBrood In the Brooder

    Jun 20, 2011
    Champaign, IL
    So I guess the question should be, what is a chicken "treat" then? Should I just keep an eye on the amount of bread crusts and pasta? Put my chickens on the Atkins diet?? [​IMG]

  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Two pie pans of scraps a day is a lot of treats for 7 birds. My 5 10 week old birds may eat 2 pie pans of feed along with free ranging. With ranging birds also pick up every insect they can too and that's 100% protein. Treats on their own are plenty nutritionally balanced with vitamins and minerals but lack the protein needed for younger birds growth and later for egg laying. Why the recommended percentage of feed be 10% or less treats and supply plenty grit.
  9. the4heathernsmom

    the4heathernsmom Songster

    Jul 1, 2008
    east texas
    I do the same thing.....Mine are healthy !!! [​IMG] I feed loads of garden scraps as well as house scraps and they don't eat as much of the feed but that is a good thing around here. I actually think it is better for them to lay off of the "feed" as much as possible and eat all the natural stuff. It saves me a TON of money and feed goes soooo much further. For the little ones I slice and chop and feed them daily scraps as for the big ones they get all they can eat. I think the problems with that develop when you have leftovers sitting in the pen ie; giving them more than they can eat. We clean those out about every other day especially in the heat so as not to have the spoilage and one of the chickens get some kind of bacteria or something from spoiled food. But they do need a variety if you are going to feed mostly scraps and access to plenty of grit. We feed squash, zucchini, tomatos, potatos, pumpkin, whole corn on cob, sunflowers, peas, beans, peppers, cucumbers, peaches, plums, blackberries, greens......whatever we have excess of as from the gardens. Then from the house whatever leftovers we have we feed to them as well. It just works out really good for us!!! [​IMG]
  10. BeckyandHerBrood

    BeckyandHerBrood In the Brooder

    Jun 20, 2011
    Champaign, IL
    I guess we all do what works for us. I know that they are growing well and are very healthy, so I might just take the wait and see approach. I am still putting them in the coop at night and they have their feed in their and eat it too. They get leftover cheese, yogurt, meat, fish, and seem to love it all. As for grit, their run is sand, they should be good to go right?

    Thanks for the advice. Chicken people are awesome!

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