What Do Chickens Eat? – BarnCoop

If you’ve ever wondered, “What do chickens eat?” then wonder no more, because here is the answer.

It doesn’t take much study around my frugal living household to figure out that chickens eat just about anything.

What Do Chickens Eat?

For the most part, chickens are omnivorous, and they are also blood thirsty. They love blood. Yuk!

One thing they don’t eat is onions.

There are a few other off limits items, but otherwise just about everything is fair game for a chicken – even dirt and pebbles.

 Things that Grow

Grass is a favorite of chickens. If you have a patch of grass that you want removed, just fence in a bunch of chickens, and you’ll have bare dirt in a couple of days – stems, leaves, roots and all.

Green leaves are soon devoured if you surround them with chickens. Weeds, flowers, vegetables, bushes and low hanging tree branches are all fair game for chickens.

If it’s green, they’ll at least try it.

Vegetables can satisfy a chicken’s interest in food. They like summer and winter squash just fine, and will generally try to eat any vegetable that can be pulverized or torn apart easily.

Kitchen scraps are also a favorite of chickens. They’ll strip the meat off of a carcass or bone, clean up whatever you left on your plate, and eagerly devour vegetable peelings and cuttings from the kitchen.

Seeds are the main diet of chickens largely because that’s what we have decided to feed them. Chickens will naturally find seeds (grain) on the surface of the soil and just under the surface when they scratch things up.

What Do Chickens Eat? – Things that Run and Crawl

Mice can also be eaten by chickens. If it scurries across the ground, chances are good that a chicken will be right behind it looking to turn it into a meal.

Worms are another favorite of chickens. It’s one of the reasons they scratch at the ground, and it’s the main reason they enjoy a nice patch of freshly tilled earth.

Bugs are spotted by the watchful eye of the chicken and sampled for taste. If the bug isn’t a large hard shelled beetle, it probably won’t last long with a chicken.

What Do Chickens Eat? – Odd Stuff

Blood seems to be an odd thing for chickens to eat, but they do. They love blood. If you butcher an animal with chickens nearby, they will come over the drink the blood and eat the ground that the blood has soaked into.

Even if it’s the blood from one of their buddies, they don’t care – they’re there to feast on it.

Chickens are blood thirsty and can be cruel to one another. They will peck another chicken and basically eat it alive.

You want to know what do chicken eat? I’m here to tell you that sometimes it’s their own kind.

If the wounded bird is still alive and bleeding, they will continue to peck at it and eat it’s flesh and blood.

Grit and soil are also part of a chicken’s diet. It doesn’t seem natural, but chickens eat small stones and pebbles so they can grind up seeds/grain in their gizzard.

When you butcher a chicken and cut open it’s gizzard, you are bound to find small stones and pebbles in there.

What Do Chickens Eat?

What Do Chickens Eat? – Not this Stuff

As far as I can tell, there are only a handful of things that chickens don’t or won’t eat. Here they are:

  • nettles
  • thistles
  • onions
  • wood
  • dead animals
  • metal
  • plastic

That’s a pretty short list, but that’s been my experience as I have raised many a chicken to provide meat and eggs here at Best of Both Worlds.

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