Some people call chickens ‘two legged pigs’ and will feed them anything. It is actually the chickens natural behaviour to compete for fresh food and they will eat it quickly, no matter what you are feeding them.
There are some foods that you should not be feeding your chickens. What you don’t want is for the chickens to fill up their crop with low nutrient foods, and to miss out on all the goodness of the high nutrient foods.
Here are 3 foods you should not be feeding your chickens
It turns out that chickens are lactose intolerant! Milk is high in protein and other minerals, but the lactose can give the birds upset stomachs. If you do give milk products, try small amounts of cultured ones, think yogurt or cheese as they have a lot less lactose in them.
There is nothing wrong with a small volume of porridge later on, but oats are very low in protein and fat, both of which chickens need.
Porridge fills up a chickens stomach, so they don’t have room for the high nutrient foods they need to be eating.
Oats have virtually no vitamin A, D or E and high in beta glucans that birds cannot digest. Too many beta glucans will form a sludge in the gut, causing blockages.
Bread is a common food for well meaning people to feed to chickens and ducks. The problem with bread is that it can easily form and ball in the crop which can lead to catastrophic blockages.
Yeasts and sugars in the bread can ferment in the crop which increases the pH of the crop contents, which changes the bacteria and other microbiome that grow in the crop. This can then lead on to chronic cases of sour crop that are very hard to treat.
The best advice is to feed a balanced, commercial feed first, then let the chickens eat their other food, treats or forage later in the day. This will ensure they are getting all the nutrition they need for growth and egg production.
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Dana is a homesteading, homeschooling mama to 3, based in the south of New Zealand.
She is a Certified Ketogenic Living Coach, and natural wellness expert, as well as a Registered Nurse, with post grad training in mothers and babies. She has struggled with infertility and PCOS and conceived all 3 babies naturally.
Dana is passionate about natural health and gentle parenting. With a background in well child / baby nursing she loves sharing what she knows with mamas, mamas-to-be and mama-want-to-be’s.
She enjoys getting out in the garden, or just sitting at the beach in the sun. Dana also blogs about fertility and pregnancy at naturalearthymama.com, coaches people through Simplyketogeniclife.com and creates meal plans for earthlarder.com