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What are the pros and cons of feeding bread to chickens?

 
Posts: 213
Location: Beavercreek, Oregon
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This would also include: Organic vs non-organic bread.

Bread soaked in milk/yogurt/kefir.

Bread as a small part of vegetable/fruit mix.

Bread that's been fermented.

Fed to meat-birds vs fed to layers.

Interested in everyone's opinions on this.

 
garden master
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I have heard reports in the news about people feeding bread to ducks as dangerous to th health of the ducks, and this may also apply to chickens. The reason for not feeding bread to ducks is that the bread lacks sufficient calcium and the necessary vitamins and other nutrients for the formation of hard shells. As a result, the eggs can get broken before the ducklings fully develop.

I would exercise caution about feeding your chickens too much bread for fear of doing the same thing to them. Specific quantities were not given in the news article, so I cannot help you there. The chickens know what they need to eat by instinct and will do well enough to find it themselves. For more information, I suggest checking Poultry Hub to see what is needed in your chickens' diet. If you would like to feed your chickens by foraging, we have a thread on permies about forage for chickens. Alternatively, rat and mice problems can be solved by feeding them to the chickens. Or food scraps can be fed to maggots to feed the chickens.
 
pollinator
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Kevin MacBearach wrote:This would also include: Organic vs non-organic bread.

Bread soaked in milk/yogurt/kefir.

Bread as a small part of vegetable/fruit mix.

Bread that's been fermented.

Fed to meat-birds vs fed to layers.

Interested in everyone's opinions on this.



I doubt its bad at all but I would not make the leap to feed chickens a diet based only on bread. I would gamble that chickens would get more from bread than we do because their digestive systems are more efficient. We fed our chickens a lot of expired bread and donuts for a short period of time back in the day. It wasn't anything permanent, but the chickens loved it!
 
steward
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Since you are making the bread part of a wider recipe, they will be fine with it. The addition of the calcium iwth the yogurt/milk/kefir mix should give really good egg shells, I just free feed mine busted up oyster shells and they take what they need and leave the rest.

The biggest suggestions for healthier, happier chickens has been to get them foraging, but if you have to feed them in one spot, for whatever reason, making sure they have a varied diet is a good thing.
 
Kevin MacBearach
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I used to have the chickens free range but it was to hard on the property, so I'm trying to make the best at keeping chickens enclosed. I put a huge pile of fruits, vegetable, dairy products, grains, and bread on the ground under a tarp (which I'm hoping will encourage worm ad bugs) and take from this mixture to feed my chickens and pigs, since they're both omnivores. The chickens do receive a corn/soy free layer feed too.

All the bread that they get has been soaking in milk, kefir, or yogurt for a day, or longer.
 
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If you're getting old bread scraps from a bakery as some people do and feeding it to them as a complete diet, then it could affect egg/meat production. It does lack minerals and nutrients for the large amounts of eggs chickens are bred for now. But, if you give it to them in small amounts, maybe as 25% of their diet, it shouldn't matter much. It would also depend on what else you feed them though.

Now, if you don't care about frequent egg production or meat hens growing quickly, then feeding them just that should be okay.
 
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