The GREEN aspect of Trimmings for the chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by leena, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. leena

    leena New Egg

    Jan 11, 2009

    I just joined to add my 2 cents. As a former chicken owner (2 small flocks on an acre) I wanted to ask the owners of this site to consider adding this point to their "benefits of chickens" and "feeding chickens" sections -- chickens can and will eat ALL your veggie trimmings. This is a very real GREEN advantage over and above just having the birds, making your own eggs and compost and letting them "mow" the grass.

    That is, all the rusted lettuce (brownish edges, not slimy spoiled stuff), all the strawberry and tomato hulls, carrot peels, celery/broccoli ends, parsley stems, non-green potato peels, brown edged cabbage shreds or leaves, green pepper stem and seeds, apple cores, pineapple skin, melon rinds, eaten corn cobs (they will still pick down deep and get some kernals out), beat up looking leaf lettuce and so on. How many times have you tossed a bag of shredded cabbage because it had browned edged before you could make the cole slaw? I know I do it and I'm pretty picky about using up my veggies for family meals.

    In other words: All the stuff we humans could eat but don't because it doesn't look perfect or it's a seed, stem or skin. It is amazing how much of this stuff we produce but when we put it down the disposal, it doesn't seem like such a large quantity. Save it for a day or two and you'll see - it's a lot of food. Those chickens can benefit and the earth too, when we quit tossing this stuff in the trash.

    I think it's important that people understand that they will eat this in the form it's created (doesn't have to be specially cut or prepared) and in so doing, the chickens will save you from putting it down into the sewer or septic system via your garbage disposal or into the trash. You don't even have to put it in a dish - they will take it right from the ground and scratch it!

    I realize that there is a narrative here on the site on snacks for chickens and that there are many great things listed there. I just haven't found any place that promotes this great GREEN aspect of having chickens -- they consume all the good trimmings that otherwise go into the trash.

    When we had our little flocks, they always loved this stuff and clamored around when we threw it to them. Now that we no longer have chickens, we still save this stuff for the wild birds we feed. The quail and the doves and sparrows, finches and all the rest also love these trimmings. The only veggie trash I throw into the garbage is something with mold on it or something that is slimy/black from age.

    It's a great feeling knowing that all those scraps are going for food and not just being wasted. Good for our environment and good for the birds. All the other treats mentioned are great too. I just hope that this GREEN aspect is focused upon - those rusted lettuce leaves don't look great on our plate but the chickens don't care and it's good for them!
  2. rdranch

    rdranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2007
    I agree with you 100%! We are are not tree huggers but do believe that anything that is not wasted is a benefit to the environment. Any effort to not watse something is better than no effort at all! [​IMG]

    We now have access to a recycling dumpster that takes all sorts of stuff to recycle and I couldn't be happier. Less garbage to take out!![​IMG]
  3. Ms Ellen

    Ms Ellen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    You are right of course, but I am a gardener so to me all that stuff was never going in the trash, it was called compost aka black gold. Nothing more valuable to a gardener...except maybe chicken poop;). Rotted stuff is even better yet in the compost, and coffee grounds are the best! All the stuff the chickens won't eat, do compost it please. Your garden will thank you.
  4. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    I used to send all that veggie matter to the compost pile, but after getting chickens and seeing how they FREAK OUT when I bring it to them, it's much more fun to feed it to them! I had a hen jump almost 2 feet into the air today to get at the carrot shavings I was bringing her. Silly Biddy. I never knew that chickens were like little piggies - they'll eat anything and think it's the best thing EVER!

    Oh, and WELCOME Leena!
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  5. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Same here. The eating hierarchy is 1st to the humans, if unfit for them then it goes to the chickens, if unfit for them then to the compost pile. Very little is unfit for the compost pile, but that bit goes in the garbage.

    Remember, though, that there are some things chickens shouldn't have: chocolate & avocadoes, and some say onions & green potato skins.
  6. egggarden

    egggarden Out Of The Brooder

    May 15, 2008
    Central Wisconsin
    At our house, first to the humans, then to the chickens and sheep. What's not right for them goes to the worm bin or compost pile.
  7. leena

    leena New Egg

    Jan 11, 2009
    Thanks for the welcome [​IMG]

    I'm glad to hear others figured this out too. It just seems so right to feed instead of trash the stuff.

    And to Ms Ellen, I wrote that more for the typical non-gardener who throws everything into the trash. I have a bunch of these in my own family who might someday get a backyard chicken or two but who'd never garden or do compost (I do that too) and who'd never realize that the chickens could eat what they see as garbage.

    Most of all I was just hoping that wherever the resources are on the feeding of chickens on this site, that maybe this green view of feeding basically throwaway stuff to the birds, would be highlighted as such. When I read the page here on feeding, it seemed like it was promoting "special snacks' for chickens which for my own citified relatives would mean cutting things up in a special way, placing them on a special plate, etc. anything that would take more time and discourage the process of just giving the trimmings to them with little more care than to remove the rotten stuff (and, yes, also onions, avocados and chocolate [​IMG].

    Someday, I'll get some more chickens. I miss them, I miss the chicks, I even miss a couple of the roosters and I miss the eggs. I don't miss all the poop on the 40' long back porch where they huddled in the shade to escape the heat of the desert summer :0 The downside to totally free range -- on the other hand, all the plants around the porch got lots of water and fertilizer due to constant hosings.

    I just have to convince DH to build that super duper coop and yard. We are out on the edge of the city in the desert and have coyote, bobcat, owl and hawks. Our two flocks were free range in our fenced acre and, mostly, they did pretty good over a period of about 5 years each. But civilization has built up around us now and, at the last, I think the predators were squeezed out of hunting territory so they saw our parcel which is still natural and those hens became, well, sitting ducks. We do know that a bobcat was coming in at last and picking them off one by one in their coop at night because they were, well, very free range and we didn't lock them up at night, they just went in the coop to roost [​IMG]

    So I won't have another flock until we can have the coop and a fully enclosed good sized yard. We're in the desert (no grass and lots of heavy desert shrub) so a tractor approach won't work. DH just doesn't want to build it though.... gotta keep working the angles or maybe begin it myself [​IMG] to get the ball rolling ...
  8. bluey

    bluey thootp veteran

    Apr 10, 2008
    Washington, PA

    You'll find that many members use their chickens and compost piles to eliminate a large bulk of their garbage.

    Once we got chickens, it was pretty much a no-brainer to start a compost pile. I think they go hand in hand, especially for those who garden.
  9. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    Quote:Yes , I totally agree . Infact , I laugh and call them feathered Pig's [​IMG]
  10. kmom246

    kmom246 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 20, 2008
    "Feathered Pigs" - I love it! Yes, that describes my girls completely! Or maybe feathered piranhas if there are treats being tossed in the run!

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