Animal proteins too!

Chickens require a number of essential aminos that are only found in animal derived proteins, they are after all omnivores not vegetarians. If you are using commercial feeds they will include (usually synthetic) methionine which is essential for good health and behaviour. Without it chickens will have poor muscle development, reduced egg production and will exhibit bad behaviours such as flightiness, aggression and feather pecking.

Methionine is present in meat (including offals), egg yolks, fish and some seeds such as sesame. For the average 'back yard' flock the best way to ensure sufficient in their diet is to include some of the above foods, or produce earthworms for supplementation to their diet.

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  • Would the chooks eat the possum carcass instead of putting it in a bucket  for maggot farming - is this grose or a way of dealing with my trapped possum carcasses. I get a possum a day in my trap and am wondering if its a less smelly way of giving them protein. I collect the fur, feed the dogs and cats some of the meat, and bury the carcass under a fruit tree as fertilizer. Perhaps it could spend a day in the chook pen before I bury it so its only fresh meat...... am I way out of line here - I thought it worth asking as we all need to keep our cost of living down and it helps the environment:)

    • From what I have observed over the years with chooks is that they tend to avoid something freshly dead ( other than insects)  but will investigate older dead stuff for maggots. The pecking on behavior when stronger ones are bossing littler ones does not generally progress to killing and eating deliberately unless birds are overcrowded and poorly fed. We occasionally turn up dead birds or rodents around our farm that chooks have scratched up.I always remove them when discovered as I am not always sure as to why they die, A neighbor could have been setting poison for the Rodents for example where we use traps only.  If you could stand the grossness of a maggot bucket it would be a good recycling of the pesky possum.

  • Putting a few bricks, wooden planks or cardboard/sacking down for a few days is also a great way to encourage all kids of bugs...  then just turn it over for a chook feast.

  • A friend would put a dead possum in a bucket with a lid, and with holes in the bottom big enough for maggots to drop through and said the chooks just loved it. I haven't been game. She said it didn't smell much because of the lid but I'm not sure if she was telling the truth. It seems a more natural way for the chooks to eat 'meat' though.

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    I agree. Cat food is a treat around our place.

    • I try to avoid leaving any meat scraps around, so a scant minute pecking greedily at the hand-held catfood container is all that they get at each session. 

    • Same for our flock but usually after the cat has decided it's not up to his required standards. Chickens are naturally scavengers so will happily consume even decomposing meat (carrion) without ill effects.

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