Picky chickies

October 7, 2009 | By | Comments (5)

I noticed something surprising about our girls after feeding them cucumbers the other week: They went straight for the seeds and left the rest of the juicy fruit to rot on the ground.

IMG_0402

The only other time I raised chickens was the year of my life I spent as a teacher-in-residence at Slide Ranch in Marin County, CA. The flock we kept was pretty different from the spoiled Sunset girls. They didn’t have names; they were taken to the axe (not the vet) if they fell sick; and they often ended up in soup (not that we didn’t love them. I LOVED them).

Feeding was also handled differently. The Slide Ranch flock was fed a crumble mix once in the morning, allowed to free-range all day, and would devour kitchen scraps at night. By contrast the Sunset girls have access to a crumble all day long, don’t free-range, and don’t finish kitchen scraps. The Slide Ranch hens might leave a few peels or stalks that weren’t appealing, but they never would have let juicy cukes slip by.

Are our chickens really as spoiled as I think they are? Does having access to crumble all day fill them up more than free-ranging would? What has made them so picky as to only eat seeds?

We’d love to hear your experiences. Does your flock finish their tasty kitchen scraps?

COMMENTS

  1. Blondie

    My girls are picky too. Favorites are noodles/pasta, rice, left over ham and cheese sandwiches from my daughters lunch and lettuces. Fruits and most vegg… with some hesitation. Unless, of course, it’s 120 degrees, then they love melon and cucumbers.

    October 16, 2009 at 9:04 pm
  2. colleeeen

    If I keep my girls just a little bit hungry they will eat cucumbers and melons right down to the skins. However, they do not seem to like any kind of peppers and will only peck at them begrudgingly. As mentioned in the article linked in Diana’s comment, my girls will not eat eggplant.

    October 15, 2009 at 2:21 am
  3. liz

    Recently, we’ve allowed are chicks to reign over our yard again… yell not by choice the door broke of the henge and we haven’t gotten around to fixing it… I’ve thrown a couple of compost worms their way and only two of the girls dive in the rest just walk away.. they prefer lay mesh and my artichoke plant (they eat the leaves). I had to put a doggie gate around it!

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_yDd7uNrcaKA/SgEt0TuHgUI/AAAAAAAABdo/pI9kDCc2nJs/s1600-h/05-05-09+019.jpg

    October 9, 2009 at 7:36 am
  4. jengod

    Just on this topic, Penguin just rereleased a WWII-era book called “Keeping Poultry and Chickens on Scraps.”

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Keeping-Poultry-Rabbits-Scraps-Handbook/dp/0141038624

    October 7, 2009 at 7:10 pm
  5. Diana Foss

    So, literally the next feed after yours in my RSS reader shows this post.

    http://food.theatlantic.com/on-the-farm/on-the-farm-there-are-no-leftovers.php

    October 7, 2009 at 3:47 pm

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