The Best Table Scraps to Feed Chickens

This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

Sharing is caring!

Whether you want to waste less food, boost the health of your birds, or save some money, feeding kitchen scraps to your chickens is an excellent way to do all three! You might be surprised at just how much food the average household wastes and how much of it can actually be put to use by feeding it to your chickens. Keep reading to find out about the best table scraps to feed your chickens and what foods to avoid.

Why feed table scraps to your chickens?

There are numerous benefits to giving table scraps to your birds. When you feed scraps to your chickens in moderation and avoid dangerous foods, everyone wins!

Have you ever paid attention to how much food goes to waste from your kitchen on a daily basis? It may be shocking, but some studies have estimated that the average household wastes approximately 1/3 of its food that’s purchased each year! Whether you’re chopping veggies, clearing plates after a meal, or cleaning out the leftovers, offering kitchen scraps to your chickens is an effective way to dispose of your extra food. Recycling your food by feeding it to your chickens keeps it out of the landfill and eventually fertilizes your yard, too!

Although chickens should receive the majority of their calories from a quality layer feed, giving them kitchen scraps is a great way to cut the budget a little bit. Giving them scraps that would go in the trash anyway is a cost-effective way to save a few bucks on chicken feed.

Lastly, most kitchen scraps are healthy for your chickens and add variety to their diet. While there are some foods that you’ll want to avoid, the majority of foods are safe for them to eat and give them a variety of nutrients.

Best table scraps to feed to your chickens:

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but here are some of the best foods to feed to your birds.

  • Fruit, such as blueberries, watermelon, strawberries, apples, and bananas
  • Veggies, such as corn, beets, broccoli, peas, cucumbers, and carrots
  • Greens, such as lettuce, swiss chard, kale, turnip greens, and collard greens
  • Cooked rice, quinoa, and oats
  • Cooked bits of meat
  • Cheese
  • Crushed eggshells
  • Squash, pumpkin, and melon rinds

What to avoid feeding your chickens:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Avocados
  • Rhubarb
  • Uncooked potato skins
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus peels
  • Moldy foods
  • Raw meat
  • Uncooked beans
  • Soft drinks
  • Processed foods

Tips for feeding table scraps to your chickens

Keep it in moderation

Feeding scraps to your chickens is fun, thrifty, and healthy. However, it is important to ensure that they’re not eating too many table scraps.

Chickens need a quality layer pellet or mash as their main source of nutrition. For this reason, it works well to give them their layer feed in the morning and then offer scraps later in the day. If your chickens fill up on scraps first, they won’t be receiving the full and proper nutrition that they need in order to thrive.

As an estimate, scraps can healthily make up around 10% of a chicken’s diet. If you find yourself with more scraps than your chickens should eat, consider building a compost bin as a productive, healthy way to dispose of the excess.

Only give them healthy foods

Just like humans, chickens need healthy foods to thrive. If you feed your chickens processed junk food, sweets, or even an excess of carbs (such as pasta and bread), their health is going to suffer. Too much junk food can lead to obesity as well as heart and liver problems in your birds.

In addition, make sure that you don’t feed them anything that’s rotten or moldy.

Don’t leave scraps for predators

In order to avoid attracting predators to your coop, such as raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and possums, only give your chickens the amount of scraps that they can finish in a day. Excess scraps that are left out overnight can attract the wrong animals and endanger your chickens.

Avoid strongly flavored foods

Although most strongly flavored and scented foods won’t hurt your chickens, they may affect the taste of your eggs. Foods such as onions, garlic, asparagus, and fish should be given sparingly if you want to avoid funny-tasting eggs.

Don’t feed scraps to your chicks

Chicks need extra protein in order to do all the growing that takes place in their first few months. For this reason, it’s best to wait until your chicks are around 4 months old to start giving them table scraps. This helps ensure that they will be hungry enough to consume their regular feed and get the protein they need in order to develop properly.

Feed scraps in a container or a clean space

In order to avoid contamination, it’s best to offer scraps in a container, bucket, or clean patch of yard. Tossing kitchen scraps on the floor of your chicken coop is not advisable. This can increase the chances of your birds contracting parasitic infections or other illnesses.

See our Airstream Remodel Reveal here!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *