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How to transition chickens to mouse diet?  RSS feed

 
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No, I'm not a militant/psychotic vegetarian (yeah, i just watched the permies youtube vid on chickens being mousers). I feed mine a mixed diet of pellets & compost and meat leftovers, but mostly overwinter, the time of year I heard chickens really need meat. We got lotsa mice. I noticed more than ever last night as I was closing them into the coop for the night. I've never seen any of our chickens chase down a mouse. May be I gotta cut way back on the feed?  Start them out on smaller bugs, hunger motivating them up the food chain...hopefully they'll stop at mice, eh .  Tho we do have a packrat moved in to the building recently. Looking for a live trap for that one -- it already stole a mousetrap. prolly keep it with the rest of what-the crap ever else its got stored up in the rafters. Oops, this is a question how to revert chickens back to their mousing nature.  

Much Thanks, Ogrenick
 
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Location: Denver CO
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Mine mostly get dead mice once the cats are through with them.  They were immediately interested and it's a big prize anytime I throw them one now.  Maybe just start with a few snap traps and see if they'll get interested once they get a taste?
 
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Location: Middle Georgia
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As gross as this sounds, you can freeze the dead mice and chop them into big pieces while frozen, then mix with something the birds really like (rice, pasta, even egg) and serve it after the mouse pieces have thawed.

Gooey mouse parts will be more appealing if it is mixed with familiar foods, and once they develop a taste for it they will likely accept them fresh and whole (chickens supposedly have a keen sense of smell so they will probably recognize whole mice as a favorite food).
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Location: Middle Georgia
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FYI none of my chickens chase down live mice/rats either (there are fat little coop rats that gorge on chicken feed -- the coop snakes eat them).

Expecting the chickens to actually become mousers may be asking too much. Usually snakes move in to do that job. Trying to force them to eat mice by restricting their feed will only cause egg production to plummet.
 
Nick Dimitri
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My partner's son says he already tried leaving dead mice our cat had caught in the coop at night, only to find them still there late the next day and past that point too. So Lucrecia's yucky method sounds potentially successful--blech! Yeah, i know squeamishness isn't becoming of ogres. Will feed the cat less and hopefully up his mousing. Then I'll cut back on the chicken's feeding when the freezer bag of dead mice fills 'nuf.  

Ugh Yet Much Thanks, Ogrenick
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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If the cat mouses more out of hunger then I expect the cat will eat the mice.

If your goal is to save money on chicken feed you might want to look into fermenting their feed. I have never done it but those that do say the birds eat much less while their production stays pretty good (they are fed all they want, they just consume less). Plus with winter coming the birds need to get enough calories if the temps will drop. The random mouse is probably best used as a treat/protein supplement for the birds.

Also if you want to save money on food in general (so your cat and chickens can continue to eat well) check out my thread on the easy way to slash your grocery bill: https://permies.com/t/95199/Easy-stock-kitchen-pantry-save
 
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