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Thread: Backyard chickens and suet page

  1. #1
    Sharonll's Avatar
    Sharonll is offline Senior Member
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    Primal Fuel


    Given the obvious value of the right kinds of fat in human diets, I've been pondering the wisdom of giving suet to my backyard chickens. It's not too cold in Seattle yet (hovering at 50F), but I've noticed that on windy, rainy days, the "girls" tend to remain huddled in their house, away from the weather, and they don't eat nearly as much as they do on more temperate days.


    I have a few blocks of wild bird suet, the kind mixed with seeds, and I'm wondering if anyone has given this to their chickens in the winter. I did some searching, but most of what I found followed CW with statements like "if fat is bad for people, why give it to your chickens?" so I can't really trust anyone.


    I know there are not nearly as many juicy bugs out there this time of year, so will suet be a good chicken supplement? I gave them a block today, and they pecked at it with enthusiasm for a little while, and then ignored it, so I think they could be trusted not to eat the whole block all at once. Any of you primal folks with chickens?


  2. #2
    Acmebike's Avatar
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    I don't have chickens, but a friend who does throws them the carcasses from big game hunting this time of year. Bones, hide, etc the chickens pick 'em clean, and that's a lot of fatty goodness they are getting from antelope, deer, and elk carcasses.


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    Anecdotally I've heard of chickens being carnivorous (one example was a pair of rescued battery hens chasing and eating a frog!), so if as you say they won't scoff the lot at once, I can't see any harm?


  4. #4
    lbd's Avatar
    lbd
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    Chickens are definitely omnivorous. They love insects and my little flock has caught and devoured a baby snake. They will also find their way to the catfood and eat it up if someone leaves the door open to the shed where I feed the cats (- - grain-free, at least . They like fruits and vegetables as well, but will come running for some meat scraps. It is comical to see them run down crickets when they are plentiful in the fall.


  5. #5
    Sharonll's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone. I've given them gristle and meat scraps, and they adore all kinds of bugs, but I just wasn't sure about such a concentrated fat source. They're just a little over 4 months old, so not laying yet, and I don't plan to give them artificial light, which might induce earlier and more plentiful laying because I want them to be as natural as possible.


    It makes perfect sense that their ancestors would eat carrion, so I'll let them have the suet. When my limited supply runs out, I suppose I could give them the leftover chunks from rendering the grass-fed pork leaf lard I've been using. I feel sure they'll like that!


  6. #6
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    You could check out www.mothering.com in the traditional foods forum and the country living forum for people with a different view than CW. Many raise their own food.

    The more I see the less I know for sure.
    -John Lennon

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    Sharonll's Avatar
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    That mothering.com site is pretty cool. I never would have found that on my own. Unfortunately, I just spent the last hour learning whether or not my children should get SSNs when they're born, how to hand-grind coffee, and how to decide if wind power is the right decision for me, rather than doing the actual work I get paid for! LOL! Definitely bookmarking this one.


  8. #8
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    Heehee, should have warned you about the potential information onslaught!!!


    It's definitely a good place to gleen information about natural living. Take the things that you feel are too fringe for your lifestyle with a grain of salt!

    The more I see the less I know for sure.
    -John Lennon

  9. #9
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    Especially during the cold WI winter months, we give our chickens the fat from our meals, we set out the pans and they go crazy for it!! They are definitely omnivorous as they eat grass, veggies/fruits, grains, bugs, mice (yes, I have seen it, etc. If chickens don't like it, they won't eat it!


  10. #10
    Sharonll's Avatar
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    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification


    Thanks for all the information, everyone. Looks like my chickens will be getting all the fat they want!


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