Lesson 566 – Food for thought


I know that it looks a little like modern art but this is not atypical chicken food at our house.

One of the reasons that we got chickens in the first place was because it was a great way to get rid of kitchen scraps. I had done a series of articles on how much edible food our family threw away in one month (a little over 20 pounds) and a reader wrote to me telling me that all of her food scraps went to her chickens. Not only did this reader then eat the eggs but she was also not averse to eating a rooster for an occasional Sunday dinner.

It was the ultimate in recycling.

It’s not unusual when we are eating dinner outside to just throw our bits of food garbage over the fence for the chickens to munch on (you have to alternate where you throw so that you don’t accidentally clock a chick over the head with a corncob.) We’ve learned a few things over the years.

  • Watermelon rind? Hot damn, the girls will eat it clear down to the skin.
  • Not so big on oranges unless we open them up first.
  • Apples? LOVE them!
  • Onions? Don’t even bother, they’ll just rot and stink up the place.
  • Mother’s Day flowers? Yup (put not those blue straw ones)
  • Pumpkins? – send invitations, we’re having a party
  • Lawn clippings? Yum
  • Corn? Salad? You don’t have to call them to the table twice.

Just recently we’ve even started adding leftover meat to the chicken’s food. While we will say no to a forgotten and charred burger, the girls will always excitedly (and graciously) accept it.

This, of course, means that less goes into our compost pile but if the end result is that we get something back which is useful in return for our scraps, it kind of makes it okay.


Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Personal, Resources

3 responses to “Lesson 566 – Food for thought

  1. Lucy

    We do the same and I can feel good about our girls getting the leftovers. Our Saturday morning ritual is to clean out the fridge for the “ladies” and the LOVE it. I didn’t know about lawn clippings and flowers though — thanks for the heads-up!

  2. Valerie Haines

    I actually have a compost bin and I’ve been debating leaving it open during the day to let the chickens have free reign to scratch and nibble at all of the grass clippings and food leftovers and leaves in there…..Thoughts?

    • Wendy Thomas

      I don’t think there is any harm in letting your chickens rummage in your compost pile with the following exceptions:

      – You don’t want your chickens to eat lots of onions or garlic, that will skunk the eggs. – Your chickens shouldn’t eat moldy food. Sometimes mold grows rampant in compost.

      Other than that, the chickens would scratch the compost (spread it) eat it and then “recycle” it (which would add good nitrogen to the mix)

      I would do it.


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