Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Chickens are Not Vegetarians

I decided it would be better to avoid photos for this--don't believe all the hype about chickens on "vegetarian diets". While I do think it's best to avoid feeding ground up rotten and/or diseased cows, chickens or other livestock to hens, chickens are absolutely not vegetarian creatures. Bugs & worms aside, they are total protein fiends and will take great pains to get as much protein as possible.

We have heard from other flock owners that they have noticed their hens will chase down mice and gorge themselves if given the chance. We observed last summer that our hens had caught a snake, and then chased each other around trying to snatch morsels to dine on.

Two days ago I saw something a little odd out in the run, and then I realized it was remnants of a snake carcass, so our "vegetarian" flock was at it again, and apparantly had a lovely snack.

For other small flock owners out there, I heartily recommend feeding organic liver to your chickens. In the late winter/early spring our flock was beginning to look a little ragged, and we fed them a deer liver and hunter had given us. The liver had spent many weeks in the freezer, so all bugs and parasites were long dead, and we simply thawed the liver and fed it to them raw.
Within 24 hours the protein and vitamin A infusion made such an obvious difference in appearance of the flock that I'll be accepting donations of deer and elk liver again this fall!

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