chicken management
chicken food: Other
While chickens can live off grains and pellets alone they should be fed a range of other types of food if you are to maximise their happiness and keep them in peek condition. This page lists other foods that I feed my chickens other than grains and pellets.

kitchen scraps
Photo of a bowl of kitchen scraps
A typical bowl of kitchen scraps
Kitchen scraps make ideal food for chickens, not only in terms of nutrition but chickens love picking over such food. 

There is actually very little in the way of kitchen scraps that chickens won't eat.  There are however a range of scraps that they prefer.  These include, spaghetti, bread, rice, lettuce leaves, fat offcuts, cooked  potato, stew, apple peels, potato peels  and cake. 

Things they won't eat include lemon and orange peelings, tea leaves, walnut shells and bones.

feeding kitchen scraps to chickens
There are three ways to feed kitchen scraps to chickens.

1. sorted kitchen scraps
This is  when you sort the foods craps prior to feeding it to the chickens, excluding things they are unlikely to eat.

  • Avoids spoilage of palatable food scraps when mixed with unpalatable scraps.
  • Less mess as very little is left uneaten.
  • Sorting the scraps involves more work.
  • Requires you to have two food scrap containers in the kitchen to separate the good scraps from the bad.
  • It is impossible to accurately gauge what scraps the chickens will or won't eat.

2. Unsorted kitchen scraps
This involves dumping the unsorted kitchen scraps at the same point in the chicken run each day and allowing the chickens to sort out what they will or won't eat.  About once a week the leftovers that the chickens haven't eaten need to be raked up and placed in the compost bin.

  • No time wasted sorting the scraps.
  • Only one container required in the kitchen.
  • Mixing good and bad food scraps together can spoil the good scraps.
  • Any scraps that the chickens don't eat have to be raked up and removed.

3. Unsorted kitchen scraps fed via  compost bins
Feeding kitchen scraps to chickens via a compost bin in the chicken run is very efficient as any scraps that the chickens don't eat do not have to be raked up and disposed off.  For more information about the advantages of placing your compost bins in the chicken run see Compost Bins In The Chicken Run.

  • No need to rake up and remove the kitchen scraps that the chickens don't eat.
  • Contains the kitchen scraps in one place.  Food scraps fed to chickens on the ground tend to be spread around the chicken run as the chickens scratch at it.
  • When kitchen straps are mixed in with green waste, as will be the case when compost bins are placed in the chicken run, there will be fewer smell problems due to the kitchen scraps being diluted.  Boosting the green waste with kitchen scraps will also produce better compost.

  • Having the compost bins in the chicken run means that you will also be adding green waste to the bins as well as kitchen scraps. Which means the green waste will have to be sorted to make sure no poisonous plants are added.
  • Compost bins placed in the chicken run tend to be further away from the main sources of green waste such as the vegetable patch, which will result in you having to cart the green waste further.

food scraps
Phot of slices of bread in a bowl
Bread is an ideal food scrap for chickens.

Photo of chickens eating scraps of bread
Bread being fed to chickens.  Firm food scraps such as bread can be fed to them on the ground while softer scraps such as cooked spaghetti is best fed to them in a bowl or shallow bucket.
By food scraps I mean food that was meant for human consumption but for whatever reason went stale or mouldy or you simply cooked or made more than you could eat yourself.  Examples of this would be bread, cake or pasta. 

As chickens will generally eat all such food scraps it is best that it be fed directly to the chickens rather than mixing it in with general kitchen scraps. 

Firm food scraps  such as bread and cake can be fed to the chickens on the ground while it is best to feed softer scraps such as cooked spaghetti in a bowl or shallow bucket.  Softer scraps tend to be pretty moist, which means dirt is likely to stick to it when thrown on the ground in the chicken run, making it less palatable.

Of course food scraps can be simply mixed in with the kitchen scraps, but doing so increases the risk that the more unpalatable kitchen scraps will spoil the food scraps.