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Feeding restaurant scraps to chickens ??

 
Sarah Chapman
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Hi All,
Does anyone have experience feeding scraps from restaurants to chickens? My biggest concern is feeding chicken to chickens. Will restaurants separate this or do people usually do this at home? Will restaurants expect scraps to be picked up every day?
Thanks so much for any help and ideas you all have!!
Sarah
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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I have fed restaurant scraps to chickens and it has included chicken. I know it seems strange to us, but the chickens ate the chicken along with everything else.

It depends upon the agreement you make with the restaurant, usually they will want you to pick items up daily. It's possible that you can have them separate the chicken from the other scraps but for most restaurants, if things get too "fussy" they lose interest. At least that's been my experience.
 
Ken Peavey
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Up until a few years ago I spent many years working in restaurants. The last place I worked overlapped with my keeping chickens. The chickens will thrive.

Here's how we did it.
Meat scraps, chicken/pork/beef/seafood went into a container for the owner's dog.
Bread scraps went into a container for the owner's neighbor's mule.
All the rest of the food went into my container(s) for the chickens. The wait and bus staff separated the trash. It was no problem at all when the incentive of a dozen eggs was offered. Everything went in: potato, garnish, salad, dessert, pasta (the chickens LOVE pasta, looks like worms), vegetables, citrus, fruit, soup...all of it. On occasion, something from the cooler was past it's prime and went into the bucket. Fat trimmed from the new york strips went in. Hauling home 10 pounds of table scraps was a slow night. If my buckets were full, the staff tossed the scraps into the regular refuse. I brought clean containers with me for each shift.

I had about a dozen hens at the time. 10 pounds of scraps would disappear in a day or two. Anything they did not consume immediately would sit there to develop into compost. Bugs would produce larva from time to time which gave the girls something extra to go along with an already diverse diet. If I had an abundance of scraps I could store a bucket in the fridge for a day or two to cover a day off.

The restaurant generated other waste which could be repurposed. Beer bottles for home brew. Wine and liquor bottles and corks come in handy. I use them for white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, oil, storing beans and a few big bottles for putting change in. Pickles come in 5 gallon buckets. There is never a shortage of need for 5 gallon buckets. Olives and some dressings arrive in gallon glass jars-perfect for making sun tea. Many food service operations have deep fryers. The oil is replaced at least weekly, being poured into some sort of container outside to be picked up by soap or biodiesel operations. To get this stuff, all you have to do is offer the container and pick it up regularly.

There are pig growers who use restaurant scraps to supplement the pig feed. When using these scraps for commercial livestock it is usually required that the material be pasteurized before feeding to the livestock. Because these are post consumer waste, the risk of human pathogens must be eliminated. Boiling the scraps will do the job and this is usually how it's done. The hog guys come around each evening with clean trash cans, take away the full trash cans. The benefit to the restaurateur is reducing the dumpster demand, odor, and flies. The material has to be picked up daily in most cases. There is no room inside or outside for storing trash cans full of food waste, nor is it desirable to attract rats/mice/cats/birds.

There is a huge volume of material out there. All you have to do is go get it and be dependable.

---
In the place I worked the baked potatoes were wrapped in aluminum foil. The bussers did not remove this when tossing the scraps in the bucket. The hens, not knowing any better, ate the foil along with the potato. Got some really shiny eggs from them.


 
Tony Hill
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For the last few months, we've been occasionally getting scraps. Nothing separated, all mixed together.

All I can say is that our chickens LOVE it, and are thriving. Don't fret about the meat, they convert the protein into eggs. Ours are producing well, despite the very cold temperatures.

-TH
 
Su Ba
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Chickens don't mind eating chicken. In fact, they love it. My hens go nuts over meat, any kind. I seldom get restaurant scraps because a local pig owner has the route sown up. But I do get kitchen waste from the neighbors. The chicken are ecstatic when some neighbor cleans out their freezer.
 
Sarah Chapman
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Great, thanks everyone!!!
 
Chad Sentman
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A few weeks ago, I got my first four hens and I've been feeding them kitchen scraps and also occasionally getting restaurant scraps from a nearby cafe.

These scraps often contain melon rinds, pineapple cores, rinds, and stems, as well as other citrus fruit like orange or lemon slices.

The chickens often don't seem to eat these items, so I usually just dump the bag, let them eat what they want (lettuce, ham, etc.) and then come back and collect everything else and take it to the compost heap. It seems so much easier to let the chickens decide what they want, rather than trying lean over the fence with an open bag of vegetable waste balancing the bag in one hand and trying to pick certain foods out with the other.

I have read that oranges and other citrus fruit may not actually be harmful, that there are different opinions. However, someone came to me and said that by putting oranges in the pen, I am abusing my animals.

My perspective is, if they don't eat it, where is the harm? So long as there is an abundance of food they like, and are not forced to eat citrus out of necessity, they will just continue ignoring it, and I can continue letting them decide what they want, and removing the rest after an hour or two.

I would appreciate some further insight from someone with more experience.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Chad - first of all - thank you for keeping that waste out of a landfill!

I've found my girls will do the same as yours - pick through and take out the stuff they want and leave the rest. I actually have two compost bins built into my henyard. I often dump stuff right into these bins and what the girls don't want is already in the right place. They also have their perch above one of the bins so when they sleep at night, their poop joins the other stuff in the bin for excellent compost. They work it in themselves, scratching around for goodies.

My hens also have a feeder with traditional layer pellets in it that's available at all times in case my offerings do not meet their approval. I've been doing this for years. All seems to be well.
 
Galadriel Freden
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Just as a heads up; European law states that chickens may not be fed food waste from a kitchen. This is absolutely ridiculous in my view, but it's the law. I've heard that some people will peel their carrots or whatever on the back step so they're technically not in the kitchen, and therefore legal to feed to chickens.

I'm sure most EU chicken keepers know this anyway, but I thought I'd mention.
 
Alder Burns
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Here's another free chicken food hint....check out your local movie theater's dumpster. Quite often you'll find big bags of old popcorn from when the popper is cleaned out at the end of the night. At a big place with multiple theaters this may amount to a couple of trash bags full! For years this was the staple for my poultry in GA. I would dampen it slightly and dust on some protein supplement.
 
Chad Sentman
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Galadriel Freden wrote:Just as a heads up; European law states that chickens may not be fed food waste from a kitchen. This is absolutely ridiculous in my view, but it's the law. I've heard that some people will peel their carrots or whatever on the back step so they're technically not in the kitchen, and therefore legal to feed to chickens.

I'm sure most EU chicken keepers know this anyway, but I thought I'd mention.


I'm not sure this is true, can you verify or back it up in any way?

I've heard Patricia Foreman say numerous times that in Diest, Belgium, the city gave out a couple thousand chickens to their residents for the explicit purpose of reducing the amount of household waste (and thus reducing the demand for waste removal) which was a great financial benefit to the city. That had to include kitchen scraps, I'm sure....
 
Galadriel Freden
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Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 applies to catering waste
if it originates from means of transport operating inter
nationally, such as materials derived from foodstuffs
served on board an airplane or a ship arriving in the
European Union from a third country destination.
Catering waste also falls within the scope of that Regu
lation, if it is destined for feeding purposes, for
processing in accordance with one of the authorised
processing methods under this Regulation or for trans
formation into biogas or for composting. Regulation (EC)
No 1069/2009 prohibits the feeding of catering waste to
farmed animals, other than fur animals. Therefore, in
accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009,
catering waste may be processed and subsequently
used, provided that the derived product is not fed to
such animals

source: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/agri-foodindustry/animalby-products/legislation/eulegislation/ECReg142of2011.pdf

This is the 250ish page document, and I did a Ctr-F search for "catering waste".

A more succinct version is here:

Feeding kitchen scraps to chickens – don’t !
Following the outbreak of Foot and Mouth in 2001, the government introduced a ban on the feeding of catering waste to animals, including chickens. This ban was subsequently superseded by the EU Animal By-Products Regulations. Under these laws, household kitchens are included, and as such, no scraps nor food that have been in your kitchen can legally be fed to your chickens. This piece of legislation is something which many experienced chicken-keepers remain unaware of! If you are convicted of feeding kitchen scraps to chickens, you can be fined or sentenced to a maximum of 2 years in prison.


Source: http://www.darwinvets.com/poultry/law-and-chicken-keeping

I first heard of this law in a newsletter from the British Hen Welfare Trust, a charity I support.
 
Chad Sentman
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Does this apply to non-commercial backyard hens as well?

I know that Karl Hammer feeds his chickens exclusively from cafeteria waste and other such sources, but his primary business is selling compost, not chicken meat or eggs.

Obviously that is outside the EU, but.... I find this shocking as, up to now, I've been feeding more or less exclusively from kitchen scraps.
 
Galadriel Freden
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Does this apply to non-commercial backyard hens as well?


At the top of the EU document I linked to, they define catering waste to include household kitchens.

I personally do not agree with this law. Perhaps for large scale factory operations this makes sense. But it's just silly for backyard chicken keepers.
 
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