Chickens are a popular animal. No matter if they are raised for eggs or meat or for fun, there are over 400 varieties, spanning many different breeds. Even though I was surrounded by chickens growing up, I never realized how popular they were.
There were always chickens pecking the ground and running around the farm when I was a kid. It was my job to feed them, but I never knew how important it was that I was feeding them. Keep reading to find out more.
Chickens can eat dog food without it affecting them negatively. The longer answer is a little more complicated than that. Your chickens, however, should not make a regular meal out of dog food because there are far better items they can eat.
If you are going to allow your chickens to eat dog food, it should be as healthy as possible. The healthier the dog food, the better it will be for the chicken. Dog food that has glucosamine and omegas is high quality and full of protein. Protein and meat are food items that chickens love and are a great supplement for them.
Dog food is usually created specifically for the needs of dogs, just as chicken food is typically created for the needs of a chicken. Chicken usually needs protein, so a diet high in protein works well for them. This includes bugs, grubs, and worms.
These are all good sources of protein for a bird that ranges. Chickens are often roaming around on a farm that is home to other animals, like horses. Chickens are often pecking the ground, picking up the scraps that other animals leave behind. Chickens will eat whatever they find, even if it means attacking the garden or fruit that has been left behind.
Will Dog Food Harm Chickens?
In general, feeding dog food to your chickens will not harm them. It is not recommended that your chicken has a diet that consists only of dog food. Chickens usually only eat food that is good for them.
They are wild animals and know what they should or should not eat. If they are eating, it will not harm them. It could even be beneficial for them. Chickens will eat just about anything they find, and you can sprinkle some dog food in your chicken pen for them to find as a snack.
There is some thought that people give their chickens a can of dog food to stop them from pecking each other. When chickens peck each other, it can be a sign that they are missing protein in their diet. A can of dog food can be a quick way to get the chickens protein.
If you do plan to give your chickens dog food, you should know that there may be side effects of feeding it to them. Dog food may give your chickens gas that does not have a pleasant odor. It may be similar to the same gas that dog food gives to the dogs that eat it.
Some people think that certain foods change the taste of the eggs from the chicken. You want to consider this before you feed your chickens. The eggs from your chickens could take on the taste of what you feed your chickens, so choose carefully, especially if you plan to eat or sell the eggs that your chickens produce.
You can play around with the food you give your chickens to see if it changes the taste of the eggs before you make a final determination about what is the best food for them to eat.
What Happens When Chickens Have a Poor Diet?
If you are allowing your chickens to roam free, they are going to eat whatever they can peak on the ground. Chickens need a diet that is high in calcium to help their production of eggs. There are some obvious signs when your chickens are missing something in their diet. If you begin to see this, you want to take good luck at what your chickens are eating and make some changes.
If you notice that your chickens are producing fewer eggs, that is a sign of a poor diet, especially if there is nothing else happening that would impact egg production. If you notice other oddities with the eggs, such as they are small, have double yolks, or are squishy, it could be because of their diet. If you are noticing that your chickens seem irritable and cannot settle, it could be because of their diet. If they are picking their feathers, it could be because of a poor diet.
What Should My Chickens Eat?
Just like any animal, chickens need a diet that is full of vitamins and minerals. As long as their diet includes those items, they can eat just about anything. You may consider feeding table scraps that are leftover from dinner to your chickens.
That is not the best idea to feed your chickens. Your chickens need a well-rounded diet that includes grit and calcium. Grit can be small or large-sized and is perfect for birds of any size. Feeding them grit can help them digest their food properly.
Feeding chickens account for most of the cost of keeping them. There are some tasty treats that you can feed your chickens in addition to chicken feed. You can consider food such as oatmeal, cottage cheese, pasta, corn, ginger, watermelon, pumpkin, and scrambled eggs.
Your chickens will love fruits and vegetables, and they benefit from them daily. They may enjoy foods like bananas, carrots, broccoli, and peels from vegetables. You can feed them just about any citrus fruit that you want.
Are There Foods I Should Not Feed Chickens?
Chickens will eat a lot of different foods and can eat many different things. There are, however, some foods that a chicken should not ever eat. There are foods that can be toxic to chickens, so you want to make sure that your chickens never eat them.
Avocado contains a toxic called persin. All of the avocado, including the pit, skin, leaves, and flesh, have persin. If a chicken eats any part of the avocado, it can cause myocardial necrosis in it. It can kill a bird in less than 48 hours.
White potatoes are a nightshade vegetable and have a toxin called solanine. It does not matter if they are raw or cooked. They are still toxic. There is no part of the potato that is safe for chickens. When we say no part, we mean it. Not even the leaves or vines are safe. This toxin can ruin the red blood cells and cause heart failure or diarrhea. Sweet potatoes are safe for chickens.
Tomato leaves and eggplant leaves are also part of the nightshade family and contain solanine. If the flesh is ripe, it will not contain solanine.
Green tomatoes and green potatoes both contain solanine and chalcone in the flesh, peel, and sprouts. Any part of these foods is poisonous to chickens. Green tomatoes can be fed to the chicken, if in moderation, but to be safe, they should be avoided.
Potatoes turn green when they have been exposed to light. If they are kept in the dark and cool places, they will not turn green. Once potatoes turn green or become sprouted, they should not be fed to your chickens. You also must be mindful of throwing them on a compost pile if your chickens can access and eat it.
Apple seeds, as well as other fruit pits, have what is considered small amounts of cyanide. The flesh, on the other hand, is safe.
Rhubarb leaves are not only toxic to chickens but also to humans. The stalk of the rhubarb has oxalic acid will make the shells of the chicken’s eggs soften.
Raw dried beans contain phytohemagglutinin, which is a natural insecticide. If the beans are cooked, they are safe to eat. Sprouted beans are great for chickens.
Onions contain thiosulphate, which may cause amnesia or death in chickens. Onions are in the same family as garlic. Small doses of them will most likely not be harmful to chickens. It is a good idea to avoid them. There is some that claim that when chickens eat onions, they can change the taste of the eggs.
Mold is not good for chickens. When food is moldy, they should not eat it. If the food is stale or wilted, it is ok for the chicken to eat, as long as there is no mold.
Caffeine makes chickens even more frantic and crazy than they already are. You want to avoid foods that have caffeine, like coffee grounds, tea, tea bags, and chocolate.
Chemicals, including pesticides, should be kept away from chickens. This is an obvious statement that you probably already know. What you may not realize is if chickens eat grass with chemicals on it, it is just like them eating the chemicals.
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