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chickens eat fish?

 
John Master
Posts: 512
Location: Wisconsin
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I take my boys pan fishing at a nearby lake, we usually catch 5-15 depending on the day, and throw them all back. They are usually not worth cleaning and even that I am not comfortable with the water quality in the lake. If we have backyard chickens, would they eat the fish them if we kept them?
 
Jessica Padgham
Posts: 94
Location: Denver, Co 6000ft bentonite clay soil
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Yes the chickens would eat them. There is very little that they won't eat.

I wonder what about the water quality makes you not want to eat them yourself? If it's pollution of some kind I would be reluctant to feed them to my chickens as well. Whatever the chickens eat you will eat in their eggs or flesh later.
 
John Master
Posts: 512
Location: Wisconsin
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It's a vacation home lake with lots of people who live elsewhere and pay companies to come out and spray the lawns, apparently they are deathly afraid of dandelions and not scared at all about the chemicals used to get rid of dandelions. There are other things like pesticides and chem fertilizers. We also live near a golf course. The fish are alive and healthy enough, we could eat the fish but I would rather use the chickens as an extra filter and supply them with some whole live critters if we are already going through the trouble of catching them instead of throwing them back. I wouldn't be surprised if they spray the lake. Chickens will probably like to eat the organs of the fish as well and will probably find lots of good nutrients in the fish liver I would think.
 
Jennifer Richardson
Posts: 166
Location: Columbus, Texas, USA (Colorado County). Zone 8b, verging on Zone 9. Humid subtropical, drought prone
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Ours eat them, but generally we have to split the fish open and/or cut them up in order for the chickens to go for them--if we just throw an intact dead fish out there, the chickens just give us the...fish-eye...and ignore them. On the other hand, ours have a huge ranging area and probably aren't as hungry for a varied diet as more confined chickens, so they tend to be a bit pickier than most.

EDIT: and yes, they love the organs
 
John Master
Posts: 512
Location: Wisconsin
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Threw one in and it got very little response. They actually looked at me like I was some sort of savage, like seriously, your gonna just slice a fish open and throw it in here and we are supposed to just dive on it and eat it? No can do man... Maybe they weren't hungry, been keeping them well fed, lots of scraps piled up so been throwing shovels full of fermented food scraps in there and they have have been pecking away at it and all the bugs that are drawn to the stinky scraps. Got 4 eggs already and soon when the millipedes come out hopefully we will sic these girls on them and keep them from running rampant like they have for the last 10 years we have lived here...hopefully they really like millipedes.
 
Dan Boone
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We used to give some small part of the king salmon offal to our chickens when I was a kid along the Yukon. They pecked at it, but weren't huge fans. However, they ate enough of it for the fishy flavor to come through in the eggs within just a few days. If you were raising meat birds and didn't feed fish for a week or two before slaughter, that wouldn't matter I guess.
 
John Master
Posts: 512
Location: Wisconsin
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I just made some fish stock with red snapper carcasses. Anyone who lives in an urban area and has access to a fish market, ask if they will give you some carcasses. A pot of water a few veggies and herbs and I made some dynamite broth,, mouth watering! Also, the snapper has so much meat around the head I got enough for probably two large fish sandwiches and that wasn't being picky about anything. From 8 carcasses I got about 8 cups of fish parts for chicken feed. They dove onto the fish after it was cooked! Chickens must not be sushi fans.

Free fish plus two onions a carrot some herbs, 4 hrs on the stove got me a bunch of broth a pile of meat and a nice pile of really nutritious chicken feed. Win!
 
J W Richardson
Posts: 65
Location: Council, ID
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Just processed a bunch of salmon and was thinking about taking what was left after broth making, mostly bones, and putting them through my meat grinder. would they be a problem for choking? New chicken person here.
 
Jennifer Richardson
Posts: 166
Location: Columbus, Texas, USA (Colorado County). Zone 8b, verging on Zone 9. Humid subtropical, drought prone
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If you're cooking them for a good while to make broth, the bones should probably be pretty soft, in which case it ought to be fine. If the bones are still brittle, it could be a problem, but I don't know for sure. With a strong tasting fish like salmon, though, you may end up with fishy tasting eggs.
 
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