Having backyard chickens is a great way to get fresh eggs.
Chickens are also terrific at helping keep the bug population down, and even making rich compost for the garden. Chickens can provide easy and fun entertainment while being hard workers on the homestead.
Most of the time, feeding chickens is a no brainer.
Your local feed or farm supply store will often carry a poultry feed especially made for laying chickens in amounts that they need to be healthy and lay great eggs. Adding fodder to their diet helps to cut down the feed expenses as well. Many will give their chickens kitchen scraps as a way to supplement the chicken’s diets, use all the food efficiently and keep the feed bills down. The issue is wondering if there are foods that chickens should NOT eat.
Knowing what NOT to feed chickens is important for a healthy flock.
Here are 7 items that should not be given to your flock.
1.Raw potato peels, especially green ones, can contain a toxic substance called solanine. This may be harmful to your flock, even deadly. If you have a large amount of peels, it’s best to cook them first if you want to give them to the chickens. Or, you can just compost them directly without giving them to the chickens first.
2.Citrus can be harmful to some chickens. That being said, our chickens have never liked them in the past anyway. We normally do not put citrus peels in our chicken bucket because we use them for making homemade cleaners. (recipe here)
3.Raw, or dry beans can be toxic to birds due to their containing a poison called hemaglutin. Cooking or sprouting the beans before serving them to chickens will kill this toxin.
4. Chickens that are fed dry rice are put in danger of the rice blowing up when it is introduced to moisture and will cause a gut problem in chickens. We do give our chickens leftover COOKED rice, and they love this treat.
5.Avocado skin and pit are often warned against for feeding to chickens. Our chickens do not care much for avocados anyway. But, to be sure, we have been keeping them out of the chicken bucket.
6. Giving raw eggs to your chickens could result in your flock turning cannibal. Normally, they eat their own eggs because of a deficiency in their diet or due to stress. Adding some oyster shells or even the crushed egg shells back in their diet can help.
7. Apple seeds contain cynaide. In small amounts, it’s usually not an issue. But, chickens are not known for understanding control when eating apple bits. We try and make sure to NOT allow the seeds in the cores to be added to the chicken bucket. Of course, we aren’t perfect at this, and haven’t had any issues. But, better safe than sorry, I’d say.
Feeding chickens these items on an accident will probably NOT hurt your flock, so if you have, don’t worry to much about it. Try and keep them out of the chicken bucket in the future if you can, just to error more on the safe side. What items surprised you the most?
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