Scraps or no scraps, which is best?

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JanineE
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Scraps or no scraps, which is best?

Post by JanineE » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:14 pm

Hello,
I'm a newby to keeping chickens & I'm finding the information on here so useful & the people very helpful.
I know a few people that keep Chickens & have had conflicting advice about feeding the girls our scraps. Some seem to give their girls all sorts of leftovers including past, rice veggies etc & others say to only give them pellets.

I like the idea of feeding them a variety of scraps (ie fruit & veg peelings, leftovers etc) I can't see that it would do any harm & might add a bit of interest to their diet.

I just wondered what the general feeling is here. Do you feed your Hens scraps or just the pellets?

Thanks J
Chuck
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Re: Scraps or no scraps, which is best?

Post by Chuck » Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:08 pm

The problem with a lot of things in the scraps is that they can be very fattening. Fruit & veg is better than pasta ! The problem now is that there is so much waste from a household that it is too much for a few hens. If they get too fat, they are more likely to get egg laying problems . If you have good layers, they will be more inclined to burn off fat producing food. Less productive stock could be worse affected. No meat is allowed to be fed.
Traditionally, hens were kept and used up a few household scraps and ate potato peelings boiled up and mixed with a little meal but they got little else except a handful of grain.
If you are willing to go that extra mile for your poultry - make sure you're going in the right direction !
cherrycoop
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Re: Scraps or no scraps, which is best?

Post by cherrycoop » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:37 am

I do feed my chickens scraps but have not yet given them potato peelings as I thought this was bad for chickens. is there any veg or fruit that should NOT be given. I do not have access to pellets but do get crushed corn.
JanineE
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Re: Scraps or no scraps, which is best?

Post by JanineE » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:57 am

Thanks Chuck :o)
We have quite a little amount of food waste considering we're a family of 6! But I'd just like to give them a little variety but Like Cherrycoup was wondering if there are things they shouldn't have? Would never feed them meat but are all fruits & veggies ok? Is there anything that could harm them? They're young girls I've got & aren't laying regularly yet, but I'm not worried about that side of it really, I just want them happy & healthy x
Philcott
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Re: Scraps or no scraps, which is best?

Post by Philcott » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:38 am

Sorry to put a damper on things, but please note that it is against Defra Rules to feed any sort of scraps from your kitchen to your birds. Some folk do, but it is against the law. Please bear this in mind :)
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JanineE
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Re: Scraps or no scraps, which is best?

Post by JanineE » Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:10 pm

REALLY??? Oh! I'm really surprised. Is that even for 'pet' hens ie only using Eggs for your own household? or for people who sell eggs on or use them in products they sell to the public?
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Marigold
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Re: Scraps or no scraps, which is best?

Post by Marigold » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:38 pm

Philcott is right, the rules came in a few years ago in response to waste food from catering outlets being fed to livestock and causing foot and mouth disease. Although intended to apply to commercial kitchens, they also relate to domestic setups. It is actually illegal to give ANY leftover food scraps which have been prepared in a domestic kitchen, even if you know it to be of human-consumption standard, ie what you and your family have just had for dinner. You are not even supposed to feed anything which has even passed through your kitchen on its way to the chicken run, eg cabbage bought specially for them.
The law is, of course, unenforceable in a private setting, although ignorance is no excuse, as with any other regulations. But it does highlight possible problems with feeding unsuitable food scraps to poultry. Personally I give stuff like the cut-off bottoms of cauliflower or other green veg, or fruit peelings (which of course I prepare in the greenhouse not the kitchen, LOL,) but I never give any cooked food or anything like bread, cakes or biscuits, which are nutritionally unsuitable anyway because high in fat, salt and sugar. Hens are just like us, they love junk food, but it is bad for them, makes them deposit fat round the ovaries and this causes egg laying problems as they get older. Also they will fill up on the junk food and not have room or inclination to eat the proper food from which their eggs are made.
There is no problem at all in NOT feeding any scraps, as far as i can see, or just confining these to small quantities of things which are a good dietary supplement anyway, such as fruit, veg or a few sunflower seeds sometimes, with a handful of wheat in the afternoons.
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Re: Scraps or no scraps, which is best?

Post by JanineE » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:48 pm

Thanks Marigold (again!) I only really want to give them 'good' stuff like the outer leaves of the cauliflower, veggie peelings/tops or fruit. I got them some mixed corn as a treat today & they went mad for it (just a handful a day!) Think I'll give them the fruit & veg stuff as I really can't see how it could be of harm but obviously I shall prepare it in the shed, not the kitchen!!! Much appreciated
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Re: Scraps or no scraps, which is best?

Post by chrismahon » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:16 pm

Potato peelings have to be boiled for chicken feed. I don't know why, but the protein lies just under the skin so its got to be good. Friend used to make a warm mash out of crushed grain and boiled potato peelings plus left over veg bits. There was never any meat left over as they used to make soup from the bones and bits for themselves.

As Chuck says be careful as they could get too fat and stop laying. I personnally would ignore the broad-brush DEFRA rules if it is only produce for your own use. There are millions of people in France feeding their chickens on household scraps plus bits of corn and then free ranging them. That's the point of having chickens -turn your waste into eggs. In Holland a few years ago you could get a grant to buy a coop and chickens to process your food waste rather than it going into landfill. The poo was then meant to be able to be safely composted (without a rat problem) and go on the garden.
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Re: Scraps or no scraps, which is best?

Post by Chuck » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:31 am

Strictly speaking, kitchen scraps ARE against the law but this is to avoid contamination with meat, meat products and offal which has been the cause of many an animal disease outbreak. If it hasn't been in your kitchen it is perfectly legal. I was heavily involved in the disastrous Foot and Mouth epidemic of 2001, representing goats for the British Goat Society at Defra's London HQ. These rules are not Defra, they are EU rules and should apply to all the countries of the EU - fat chance of that ever happening ! We are the mugs that stick to the rules and it costs us millions.

Potatoes are fine cooked but are poisonous if eaten raw as they are of the nightshade family.

The only fruit which I believe is poisonous is avocado.
If you are willing to go that extra mile for your poultry - make sure you're going in the right direction !
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