We feed our chickens table scraps. I would prefer to give the scraps to the chickens than to compost them, truth be told.
It isn't true that chickens "naturally" eat grass and nothing else. Yes, they eat grass, weeds, insects, small animals, etc. Domestic chickens are pretty far removed from their "natural" habitat. Our modern day chickens are descendants of ancient jungle fowl. And yet they not only survive, but thrive in environments that are nothing like jungle. Most domesticated chicken species have been domesticated for THOUSANDS of years. And over those thousands of years, they have subsisted on pasture and table scraps. So they are very well adapted to eating leftovers of human food.
I do prefer my chickens to be on pasture. They prefer to eat weeds and insects over grass. But I also provide them with table scraps and commercial chicken feed. I don't view table scraps as being more unethical than commercial chicken feed. Environmentally speaking, I think that table scraps are more ecologically sound than commercial feed. Because, by their very nature, table scraps are something that would otherwise be thrown away, there is no added cost or energy input required to feed table scraps.
So yes, I feed my chickens table scraps. No, sugary cereals or pizza crusts aren't ideal chicken food, just like they aren't ideal people food. But they're better than nothing.
|I've been wondering about scraps for chickens too...
what, if anything, should you avoid giving them?
Do you need to chop it all up for them or can/will they break and tear things apart?
I avoid giving them chicken. I've read that feeding chickens food with garlic, onion or peppers can give an unpleasant tast to the eggs, although I've never had a problem with that.
I don't usually avoid giving them anything, although through experience I've learned that there are foods they won't eat. My chickens won't eat raw fruit or veggie peals. They won't eat meat unless it's chopped into smaller pieces. They won't eat things that are hard, so I usually soak leftovers in water (or discarded milk) for the night before offering the leftovers in the morning. They will eat just about anything we don't eat- cereal, pizza, cooked veggies, wilted greens, beans, grains, cheese, mashed potatoes, grease (from cooking hamburger or bacon), bread, sandwiches... And they prefer human leftovers to commercial chicken feed, hands down. They will mob me when I come in with leftovers.