Chicken feed
October 16, 2010 8:27 AM   Subscribe

What kind of kitchen scraps can I feed to a rooster?

Long story short, we have temporary custody of a rooster until we can return him to his rightful owner. What kind of around the house stuff can I give him to eat until he goes back home (hopefully this evening)? He's in a vari-kennel, I've given him a little tub of water and some cooked rice....
posted by toodles to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
The chickens I used to take care of loved lettuce, grapes, vegetable trimmings, and having the odd corncob to peck.
posted by corey flood at 8:34 AM on October 16, 2010

Honestly, they will peck pretty much any vegetable matter. If you have some weeds and such around your yard, you can also pick some of those and let him scratch in them.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:48 AM on October 16, 2010

Chickens are omnivores. Just give him a whole bunch of stuff and he'll pick out what he likes. If you have some tender green weeds you want to get rid of, he'll probably chow those down first. Snails are tasty treats too. Table scraps, slightly old leftovers - anything you'll eat, he'll eat, and more. He may not like everything you give him, but he'll find something in there.
posted by Quietgal at 8:50 AM on October 16, 2010

When I was a kid we would feed the chickens pretty much everything we fed the pigs - which is just about everything (except milk products, I recall). Their favorite food? Chicken. Just make sure that the scraps aren't too big, one of our roosters choked to death on a giant piece of pork fat.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:14 AM on October 16, 2010

if you can find any big fat caterpillars in the yard, or grubs, he'll love them. LOVE them. and you get to see a little latter-day velociraptor in action; those beaks are sharp . . .
posted by miss patrish at 9:32 AM on October 16, 2010

Do not give potato peelings, avocado skins, or cucumber skins to chickens or roosters. Other than that, you should be okay.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:45 AM on October 16, 2010

>Their favorite food? Chicken.

That's our experience, too. We give our pet chicken leftovers from dinner. She also really likes leftover wet cat food, if the cats don't eat it all up. We tear up the heel from a loaf of store-bought whole wheat bread.

It's a hoot to watch her eat spaghetti. She starts at one end of the noodle and sucks it in lengthwise, like a little kid.
posted by Ery at 11:25 AM on October 16, 2010

We just got a laugh out of giving our breakfast toast to our hens -- one of them pecked a slice and it got stuck on her beak, and she ran around like that until the other hens pecked it off her.

Like others have said, pretty much any kitchen scraps. In addition to all the vegetable scraps, they really like pasta, bagels, etc. Oh -- and oatmeal! Love, love, love oatmeal.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:36 AM on October 16, 2010

Thanks much, everyone! So far he's rejected rice, cilantro and spinach. We picked up some chicken feed for him from the vets and he's had a bit of a peck at that...I think he might not be feeling very well.
posted by toodles at 11:39 AM on October 16, 2010

Any chicken who won't eat rice is a sick and/or upset chicken indeed. Just like any animal, they get perturbed when they are uprooted from their homes and given a new one. You don't go into a lot of detail, but it sounds like he's in a stressful situation. It could just be that.

I know that a hen will eat between 1/3rd and 1/2 a pound of chicken feed every day, depending on whether she's laying. I'm not sure what a rooster will consume, but it's probably around that number.

If you have enough chicken feed on hand, anything else is just extra. Fun extra, don't get me wrong, and good from a long-term nutritional standpoint. But if you're only going to have him on hand for a day or two, don't get too worried about the treats.
posted by ErikaB at 12:31 PM on October 16, 2010

Seconding the idea of random greens/weeds— pull some tufts of grass that are growing in the wrong place, or dandelions, cat's-ears, or the like. Chickens normally eat lots of bugs, too, but it might be hard to give your rooster access to the ground.

From what you've described, though, I think the rooster will be just fine with what he has for a day or so. They're not super fragile.
posted by hattifattener at 12:31 PM on October 16, 2010

Chickens 'round these parts go haywire for melon rinds.

I don't give my chickens chicken meat even though they like it This is based on the theory that if mad cow's disease is spread by feeding cows cow meat, and creutzfeldt-jakob disease can be caused by cannibalism, there could very well be something chickens can catch by eating chicken.
posted by aniola at 12:39 PM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks much again for all the advice. It looks like the rooster is going to be with us for a little while longer. He has an abscessed wound on the bottom of his foot so the vet gave us a tetracycline / vitamin mix to put in his water and instructions to clean it out and put ointment on it twice a day. He still seems to favor his chicken feed over anything else, but is at least beginning to eat more reasonable quantities.
posted by toodles at 4:57 PM on October 17, 2010

this is varying off-topic, but i'll include it as a point anyway.

The animal known as "chicken" (which applies to your foster-rooster) can eat any human vegetable-based table scraps, as mentioned above. Raw is usually fine, but certain things should be cooked. Off the top of my head, never give raw potato, especially skins (just in some water until softened)

For future Meta-Reference, I'd like to add this note: if you have egg-laying hens, avoid feeding them stinky things, like onions, scallions, leeks & such (alliums), as well as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and other related veggies (crucifers), as it will give their eggs and off-taste.
posted by ChefJoAnna at 6:11 PM on October 17, 2010

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