Many chicken keepers believe that feeding chicken to chickens has a very ‘silence of the lambs’ feel to it.
But, it’s always a good idea to look at an argument from both sides to get a clear solution.
So – Can you feed chicken to chickens?
But, the crux of the matter lies at the discretion of the chicken owner.
So, without any further ado, let’s get right into the topic of whether or not it’s healthy to feed your fowl meat of its own kind and if it is morally appropriate.
Is It Okay For Chickens To Eat Chickens?
Chickens are omnivores; hence they can eat meat and plant-based foods.
Fundamentally, your flock of chickens needs protein in their diet.
Protein plays a great role in the growth of beak, toenail and feather formation, immunity, adaptation to the environment, and many biological functions such as building muscle, DNA replication, or cell structure.
Moreover, the need for protein is especially essential in egg-laying hens.
So, feeding your chickens cooked and fresh chicken to a certain extent can provide the vital nutrients that your fowl need.
However, when you feed your chickens, you must ensure that you never offer uncooked chicken to your flock as this may cause several health issues like bacterial infections such as salmonella.
You will also need to ensure that you never present your chickens with rotten meat, which can cause many diseases, including food poisoning.
Furthermore, many laws apply to different countries that prohibit the feeding of chicken to chickens.
Hence, as a chicken owner, the responsibility to be well-aware of the laws of the land rests entirely on you.
Do Chickens Eat Other Chickens?
Chickens will eat various things, from insects such as worms and lizards to grains and from vegetables to meat sources.
You must understand that chickens aren’t discerning eaters and will happily munch on bits of chicken too.
But, there are times when chickens will revert to eating other chickens.
You may find it hard to believe, but chickens possess cannibalistic tendencies.
In most circumstances, chickens only ever attack other chickens and eat them when they are starving.
Even in these rare cases, the chickens they will attack are either ailing, hurt, or fall at the very bottom of their social order.
A healthy chicken and one central to the social order is hardly ever pecked or attacked, let alone be eaten.
The most important thing to do as a chicken keeper is to ensure that you frequently clear up your chicken coop, and if there is a dead chicken, you should remove it as soon as possible from the coop to prevent the spread of disease as well as to stop your birds from trying to eat the dead chicken.
Also, if you find a chicken that has been hurt, you should isolate that bird until it gets better.
On the other hand, if you cannot keep the chicken that has been hurt away from the flock, then you must tend to the wound and apply anti-peck or a healing spray that will prevent the other chickens from pecking at the wound.
You see, sometimes a tiny wound in a chicken can turn into a major injury when the flock gets to pecking at the wound.
Can You Feed Chicken Meat?
Chickens are well-known for eating most meat scraps such as cooked pork meat, steak, duck, rabbit, or fish.
And the additional provision of amino acids in chickens’ diet during specific life stages is recommended, particularly in egg-laying hens.
The aspect that chicken keepers ought to keep in mind when feeding their chickens meat is that they should always practice a level of constraint.
Excessive protein consumption, both in chicks or egg-laying hens, can create problems.
Pullets need about 20% protein, and as a chick grows older, the need for protein reduces.
Even hens that lay eggs only need 16% of protein.
The body of any living thing, including chickens, can only process a precise amount of protein.
Chickens have no protein storage, and whatever cannot be stored is passed through the body as waste.
The more protein your chicken will consume, the more wasted protein it will produce.
Wasted protein comes with many health hazards.
Protein passes through the body as waste, and wasted protein contains high ammonia levels.
Too much ammonia in the chicken waste will impact the respiratory system of your flock.
Ammonia can also damage the eyes and trachea of your fowl.
In addition, excess protein means an increase in water consumption in chickens.
More water consumption eventually leads to wetter litter and bedding areas that can cause burns or blisters on the feet and skin of chickens.
What Is Toxic To Chickens?
There are many things that chickens will eat and digest without any ill effects.
Conversely, some food sources can be toxic for chickens too.
Here’s a list of things that you should keep away from your chickens to prevent toxicity:
- Avocado pits and skins – avocado contains persin that is toxic for most animals as well as chickens.
- Raw or dried beans – beans contain a compound known as hemagglutinin.
- Raw green potato skins – green potato skin contains solanine which can cause upset stomach in birds.
- Chocolate – Chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic for chickens.
- Apple seeds – apple seeds contain a small amount of cyanide.
- Apricot pits and leaves – apricot pits also contain cyanide.
- Rhubarb or tomato plants – rhubarb contains anthraquinones which have a laxative effect, and tomato plants are full of oxalic acid, which can be fatal for chickens.
- Moldy or rotten foods
- Excessively salty foods
Chickens are amazingly resilient birds and very low-maintenance pets.
However, their longevity and health are incumbent upon your care.
Feeding chicken to chickens isn’t bad, but too much of a good thing can also turn into a menace.
So, if you feel that you aren’t comfortable feeding chicken to chickens, you can always substitute the required protein of your flock with other meat sources.
If you don’t have a problem feeding chicken to chickens, always make sure that it is a fresh and fully cooked meal.