Which of these 7 mistakes are you making when feeding your backyard flock? Here’s a list of what NOT to feed chickens if you want to keep them healthy!
Having a backyard flock of chickens is a great way to get fresh eggs. Chickens are terrific for keeping the bug population down. They even make rich compost for the garden. They do all of this while providing great entertainment around the homestead! You want the best feed for chickens, to get the healthiest flock.
Most of the time, what to feed chickens is a no-brainer. Your local feed or farm supply store will often carry a poultry feed specifically made for laying chickens. The feed bags often come in the pre-measured amounts that chickens need to be healthy and lay great eggs.
Adding fodder to their diet helps to cut down on the feed expenses. (See how to grow your own fodder here.) Fodder can be rich in vitamins and minerals, and provide greens to feed chickens. It’s a perfect supplement during the winter when grass is not available.
Many will give their chickens kitchen scraps as a way to supplement their diets, which can help make sure all your excess food is used efficiently. It’s a great way to help keep the feed bills down. However, there are foods that chickens should NOT eat. Some people food that is healthy for us is dangerous food for chickens.
Knowing what to feed chickens is important for maintaining a healthy backyard flock.
Here is a list of what not to feed your chickens:
1. Raw potato peels, especially green ones, can contain a toxic substance called solanine. This chemical may be harmful to your flock, even deadly. If you have a large number of peels, it is best to cook them first if you want to give them to the chickens. Or, you can compost them directly without giving them to the chickens.
2. Citrus can be harmful to some chickens. That being said, our chickens have never liked it anyway. We normally do not put citrus peels in our chicken bucket because we use them for making homemade cleaners and homemade lemon extract.
3. Raw or dry beans can be toxic to birds due to a poison they contain called hemagglutinin. However, cooking or sprouting the beans before serving them to chickens will kill this toxin. If you choose to add cooked beans, it’s best to use homemade versus canned. Using your won beans lets you control the amount of extra sodium, which is not healthy for your backyard flock.
4. Chickens that are fed dry rice are in danger of the rice blowing up when it is introduced to moisture in the bird’s stomach, potentially causing harm to the gut. We do give our chickens leftover COOKED rice, and they love this treat.
5. Avocado skin and pit are another food that is dangerous food for 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. They will 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 into their diet can help.
7. Apple seeds contain cyanide, which makes it a dangerous food for chickens. In small amounts, apple seeds are usually not an issue. But, chickens are not known for their self-control when eating apple bits. We try and make sure the seeds from the cores do NOT make it to the chicken bucket. We aren’t perfect at this. The occasional apple seed still gets in there. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Feeding chickens these items by accident will probably NOT hurt your flock. If you have, don’t worry too much about it. Try and keep these foods out of the chicken bucket in the future if you can. Error more on the safe side.
What items on the “potentially harmful” list of what not to feed your chickens surprised you the most? What is your favorite treat to give your backyard flock?
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