Vegetarian fed chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by realnewbie, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. realnewbie

    realnewbie Hatching

    Mar 3, 2009
    I do not have any hens as of yet. I have been reading your site for a while now. WOW! So much information here!

    Anyhow, my question.
    Is it possible to raise vegetarian chickens? Ive bought organic free range eggs in the grocery store and they are "vegetarian fed" according to the packaging.
    Ive been thinking of getting a few hens and housing them on our land. I would like to know what these grocery store-bought eggs (chickens) are fed? Ive read here that most (or all) feed has animal byproduct, etc. Which wouldnt be vegetarian...
    Any help?

  2. Lesa

    Lesa Songster

    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    I am a vegetarian...Chickens are not vegetarians! The only way you could be sure, would be if you kept your chickens inside always. Trust me, if there is a bug or worm to be found- they will find it! I buy organic feed and it does not have animal by-products in it- I am not sure there is any reason to worry about "vegetarian fed" when it comes to your own chickens. They are going to be so much healthier and happier than any commercial producing chickens...I think this issue first started when cows were fed animal by products, and mad cow disease occurred. Cattle are vegetarians by nature, chickens are not...Enjoy the chicken journey!
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Just adding a vote for what Lesa said.

    Chickens are not, by nature or *in* nature, vegetarians. Insects and spiders and worms and all that sort of thing are a crucial part of their diet in nature and they will happily (gleefully, with hysterical enthusiasm!) eat whatever frogs, mice, lizards, whatever they can catch. And of course they sometimes eat each other [​IMG]

    You *can* provide a vegetarian diet of course. It will end up relying heavily on soy meal as a protein source. There is debate over whether this provides essential amino acids as appropriately as a diet with animal protein in it, but certainly people can and do keep laying hens on vegetarian feeds.

    However you can't raise free-range chickens that way because they will go out and get 'meat' for THEMSELVES [​IMG]

    Have fun, whatever you decide,

  4. realnewbie

    realnewbie Hatching

    Mar 3, 2009
    Ok, I hadnt thought of bugs... hehe I guess those would not be vegetarian. Would they?
    But other than bugs, would chickens be healthy and happy eating feed that has no animal byproducts, etc. ?
    I cannot as a vegetarian eat eggs from hens that ate meat or any animal products.
    What if any are my options?
    Thanks again!![​IMG]
  5. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    Why on earth would you want to torture your chickens like that? No animal protein? It's an integral part of their diet! They need it! In fact, don't be surprised when they find a nest of mice and eat every one of them. [​IMG] [​IMG]

  6. FrenchHen

    FrenchHen Chicken Ambassador

    Jan 26, 2009
    Bagshot Row
    Is it simply a marketing tool to assure folks that chickens aren't eating animal by-products?
  7. realnewbie

    realnewbie Hatching

    Mar 3, 2009
    I dont have chickens. Im just asking it its ok. I guess Im getting my answer.
  8. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Wait, wait.

    Purina makes an entire line of feed with no animal protein.

  9. realnewbie

    realnewbie Hatching

    Mar 3, 2009
    Ok, I was starting to question the farm I get my eggs from...
    They say "We use a unique vegetarian feed: no antibiotics, no pesticides, and no animal by-products.
    Our hens are fed certified organic flaxseed, which contains high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. "
    Pete and Gerrys

    This farm is the closest to humane I could find. And they are local. (Short of having my own coop.) Which is partially the reason I came here. I need to learn! [​IMG]

  10. TXmom

    TXmom Songster

    I feed my chicks Purina Start & Grow, and it says it has no animal proteins...all plant derived proteins. However, I do believe they are healthier and happier as omnivores, so I give them crickets and mealworms, and they eat whatever they can find outside. I hope they eat lots of icky pesty bugs for me!

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