What Can You Feed Your Chickens?
How to Feed Chickens Scraps
A chicken is literally a live compost. You can feed them an array of table scraps and leftovers, from meat to pasta and rice. There are, however, quite a few table scraps that you should either limit, adjust or not feed to your chickens at all. Some types of food can even lead to a vet trip, so be careful. Below are some tips to help keep your chickens healthy.
Use corn.Corn can be fed raw, cooked or dried. It is also included in scratch poultry feed, and makes a good treat for winter time. Add corn into their poultry mix, hand-feed them or throw them on the ground.
- You can feed corn from the can or from the cob, either raw or cooked.
Watch the potatoes you feed chickens.Chickens love cooked and mashed potato. Avoid the green and moldy ones as they are extremely poisonous, not only to chickens, but also to humans. Sprouted potatoes are also bad. Fresh potato skin and the insides should be fed cooked, but potatoes do not contain high amounts of necessary nutrients.
- Potatoes go green when exposed to sunlight. The key to good potatoes is how you store them.
Do not feed dry or raw beans.Beans are extremely toxic to chickens, and can cause death within an hour of digestion. Beans contain the toxin phytohaemagglutinin, which is lethal to poultry in dry and raw form.
- Beans need to be thoroughly soaked for five hours, then cooked in high temperature water for 15 minutes, to be safe for chickens. Soaking them alone will not rid beans of the toxicity.
Avoid avocado.The pit and skin is toxic, however, the actual avocado is not highly toxic to chickens. In fact, they can actually digest the inside, but use in small amounts, to avoid a bad case of diarrhea.
Steer away from onions.When fed in large amounts, onions can be fatal to chickens. Onions are a leading cause of anemia and jaundice in chickens. They contain a toxin that destroys red blood cells, called thiosulphate.
Feed some peelings.Chickens can eat such peels as banana peels, carrot and orange peelings. Feel free to feed any peeling scraps you would like, but be sure to avoid potato and avocado skins.
Be cautious of tomatoes.You can feed fully ripened, red tomatoes, butnever feed green tomatoes or their stems. Green tomatoes and the tomato plant itself contain a toxin that chickens cannot digest.
Use cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower.Using hemp string, tie these vegetables up by the stem from the ceiling of the coop, allowing full access to the flock. Your chickens will pick at and play with these vegetables, making for a creative boredom-buster as well as providing nutrition.
Do not allow consumption of apricot pits or apple seeds.These are harmful to chickens, as they contain cyanide. Before feeding apricots or apples to your chickens, remove the pit and all of the seeds.
Limit citrus fruits.These are fine for chickens to digest, but the acidity causes a drop in the production of eggs. Only feed occasionally.
- Citrus fruits include lemons, oranges, limes, tangerines and grapefruit.
Feed apples.You can serve apples raw, cooked, peelings or even as an apple sauce. But completely avoid the core and seeds. You can purchase machinery that take off the apple core for you or cut it by hand with a knife.
Feed berries.Chicken's love berries, especially strawberries. With a wide selection you can feed them almost anything. Strawberry tops might be a scrap you wouldn't necessary use, but can throw to the chickens.
Feed grapes.Ensure you purchase a seedless variety, as chickens cannot digest grape seeds properly. Chickens love grapes. Cut them in half to make it easier for your flock to swallow.
Feeding Human Food
Do not feed chocolate to chickens.Chocolate has historically been a hazard to animals, especially with cats and dogs. Chocolate contains two ingredients that are toxic to chickens: Theobromine and caffeine.
Avoid all fast food.Burgers, fries, fried chicken, doughnuts and pizza are all unhealthy and should not be fed to chickens. They are filled with sugars, salt and carbohydrates, all of which chickens should not be consuming.
Do not feed your chickens any sort of junk food.Anything ranging from potato chips to sweets and popcorn. Many junk foods are treated with large quantities of salt and sugar, which must not be a part of the diet of your chickens.
Feed cereal in moderation.Plain brands of cereals such as toasted whole grain oats or whole grain wheat and barley combinations make great treats. Avoid more brands that contain sugar.
Feeding Other Sorts of Food
Limit bread portions.Too much bread is unhealthy for birds as it can give them a sour crop and fill their stomach with unnecessary nutrients. Feed one slice of bread a day per to a minimum of five birds and break the slices up into smaller portions.
- Avoid feeding bread with mold.
- Feel free to feed any stale bread to chickens.
Supplement calcium through egg shells.Chickens will supply you with eggs and even eat the unwanted parts. Rinse the shells with a strainer, crush them up and set on a tray. Bake for 10 minutes or less on a low heat to dry the shells out and to remove the uncooked egg.
- Ensure the leftover egg on the shell is either rinsed or baked properly, otherwise the chickens may develop a taste for egg and eat their own.
Cook any eggs you want to use for feeding.There is nothing wrong with raw egg, and it is not harmful. Again, be aware that it can lead to an egg-eating habit if chickens get a taste of raw.Alwayscook eggs before feeding to your chickens. Cook them any way you like: fried, scrambled or boiled.
- Eggs are a great source of protein for those in the flock that are deficient.
Feed meat in small cuts.Cook your meat and cut it into smaller parts to make it more easily digested. Spread it evenly around the flock to avoid violent competition. Chickens tend to go crazy for meat, so you want to be watching your flock in how they react to it.
- Although they can be fed raw meat, it is suggested to cook it first. Chickens commonly turn violent when introduced to raw meat.
Avoid salty foods.It can lead to salt poisoning, as chickens do not naturally digest, or need, a lot of salt.
Stick to grass as opposed to other types of plants.You should avoid using most house plants as feed. This is because there is a wide list of poisonous ones. If you would like to feed a leafy serving from the garden, pick some uncontaminated grass that has been untreated and rinsed before serving. You can also consider letting your chickens free-range in the garden.
Cook fish and seafood before feeding.Chop the portions up and split between the flock, to avoid violent outbreaks from occurring. Chickens tend to challenge each other over both meat and fish.
- If you would like to feed grit, ensure that it is cooked.
- Do not feed moldy bread to chickens.
- Generally, anything that molds should not be given to chickens.
- Chocolate causes heart problems and can kill your chicken within 24 hours of digestions, soneverfeed chocolate.
Video: Feeding chickens kitchen scraps
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