Feather pecking

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Margaid
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by Margaid »

I've just found this on the British Hens Welfare Trust website.

"In 2014 Defra announced a ban on the feeding of mealworms to chickens.

The ban is still not widely known by many poultry keepers. It can even cause confusion among those who do know about the ban, but do not understand the rationale behind it.

To put it simply most mealworms are imported and may have come into contact with, or been fed, animal protein which could then potentially pass on disease.

To provide context, the definition of products potentially containing animal proteins was redefined following the BSE epidemic in the 1980s and the foot and mouth outbreak of the early 2000s.

Importing mealworms which have not been inspected and certified means there is no way of knowing if they have been ingesting animal proteins or not. Here is the exact wording taken from Defra’s website:

Dried terrestrial invertebrates (insects) and processed animal proteins (PAPs) of insect origin cannot be used in farm animal feed or in treats, eg hen treats."

So get yourselves some live ones - the hens love them and if they wriggle into the bedding it provides even more fun.
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dianefairhall
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by dianefairhall »

Thanks, Margaid. I didn't get as far as ordering the mealworms. We have not observed any aggressive behaviour recently as the other two have become wise to Morag coming up behind them! We've been giving them suet balls and they seem to enjoy those.
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Marigold
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by Marigold »

I’m afraid suet balls are a definite no no, Diane. Hens shouldn’t be fed any extras which contain fat, let alone made entirely of fat. They will put on weight, just as we would if we had a nice treat of suet balls for pudding, and this will concentrate round their ovaries and produce egg laying problems.
Suet balls are suitable for wild birds who don’t have the advantages of food constantly on tap and are much more active anyway, flying around all day and using a lot more energy to keep alive and warm especially at night in a draughty tree, not a nice cosy coop.
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dianefairhall
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by dianefairhall »

I bought them from Omlet so I assumed they would be OK:
https://www.omlet.co.uk/shop/chicken_ke ... aaaa625396
Margaid
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by Margaid »

dianefairhall wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:48 pm
I bought them from Omlet so I assumed they would be OK:
https://www.omlet.co.uk/shop/chicken_ke ... aaaa625396
They aren't suet balls but an Omlet product apparently designed for chickens.

CJ Wildbird food are out of stock of live mealworms but here's another stockist

https://www.livefoodsdirect.co.uk/amphi ... -mealworms

I read on another suppliers site that LIVE mealworms shouldn't be fed to hens, but these are bred in the UK and in any case the worms are vegetarian so there's no chance of them containing animal protein. Mine were fed on cabbage leaves and slices of carrot.
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dianefairhall
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by dianefairhall »

Sorry, I just generally call them suet balls.
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dinosaw
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by dinosaw »

Margaid wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:40 pm
I've just found this on the British Hens Welfare Trust website.

"In 2014 Defra announced a ban on the feeding of mealworms to chickens.

The ban is still not widely known by many poultry keepers. It can even cause confusion among those who do know about the ban, but do not understand the rationale behind it.

To put it simply most mealworms are imported and may have come into contact with, or been fed, animal protein which could then potentially pass on disease.

To provide context, the definition of products potentially containing animal proteins was redefined following the BSE epidemic in the 1980s and the foot and mouth outbreak of the early 2000s.

Importing mealworms which have not been inspected and certified means there is no way of knowing if they have been ingesting animal proteins or not. Here is the exact wording taken from Defra’s website:

Dried terrestrial invertebrates (insects) and processed animal proteins (PAPs) of insect origin cannot be used in farm animal feed or in treats, eg hen treats."

So get yourselves some live ones - the hens love them and if they wriggle into the bedding it provides even more fun.
And then you see this

https://www.politico.eu/article/bugs-fo ... fe-to-eat/

No wonder people don't know if they are coming or going nowadays.
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dianefairhall
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by dianefairhall »

So I can eat them (no thanks!!) but my hens(who would love them) can't? Madness.
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Marigold
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by Marigold »

I think it’s just a reminder that the safety of any edible animal product depends on how the animal was fed and treated when alive, how it was killed and prepared for sale. Size isn’t relevant - most of us wouldn’t like to eat chlorinated chickens or beef pumped with hormones and antibiotics, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all chicken or beef is unsafe to eat. Same for insects.

And who knows what goes into cheap dog food, for example?
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Tweetypie
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Re: Feather pecking

Post by Tweetypie »

Oh noooo. You won't believe this but I have a serious worm phobia. I can't even look at a photo of one. Hinders me, as I'm a keen gardener. Was great last year as it was too hot for worms. 🙃
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