Saturday, 3 March 2012

Chickens Are Not Vegetarians.

Despite what many people are led to believe chickens are NOT vegetarians. 

Here's the thing that gets me.  I've seen TV shows that promote buying Vegetable fed chicken meat from stores.  Vegetable feed chicken being healthier.  This bugs me.  

Chickens are not vegetarians.  They are Omnivores and will snap up a morsel of meat in a second!  They need this protein in their diet.  Is it fair to deny them meat (or bugs)?  As a person, you have a choice weather you want to eat meat or not.  And that's all good.  But feeding chickens a diet of veggies (and grains) just isn't natural for them, and you are denying them the choice to eat meat, therefore taking away their choice of a part of their natural diet.  Is this fair to the chicken?  Chicken rights!!! Ok, I'm just being silly.  But it does bug me that so many people are lead to believe that Chickens don't eat meat.

Chickens enjoy meat very much.  I recall several instances in which I have seen chickens consume it of their own free will.

One time, my parents came out to camp in their van in the yard.  We were having dinner, and their little Weiner dog was running around scarfing up the chicken food.  We threw the dog a piece of meat, well, the chickens got very excited about this and grabbed the meat before the dog could get it and ran off with it.  Funny thing to see the dog eating chicken food and the chickens eating her meat.

Chickens are mighty hunters, though you might not think so.  You can see them at it in the long grass or the leaves, as they look for their little prey, be it bugs, frogs or mice.  They remind you of Raptors, but don't they say, that chickens are distant relatives of the dinosaurs?

A few summers ago, while we were outside, we heard a screech, and looked up to see our daughter chasing a chicken screaming and yelling at it.  Big Butt, the chicken (named for her big, bulbous, bald butt) was running flat out, with a trail of chickens racing behind her, and behind them was my daughter.  Dangling, kicking from the mouth of Big Butt was the grand prize.  A frog.  Big Butt, then somehow managed to get far enough ahead that she had time to eat her dinner.  I don't think Madeleine ever forgave Big Butt.

Woe to any mouse that happens to try and sneak into the chicken house during the day.  Those chickens will take it down.  I have seen chickens chase , catch, kill and eat unfortunate  mice with great relish, and I don't mean the kind you have on your hotdogs.  

Chickens are rather smart at times.  They have it figured out, that if they follow the cat when he's hunting, that he will either scare up mice or they can steal mice that he catches.  I've seen this too, where they steal the cats mouse.  Last winter, the cat had a mouse he was bringing home still alive, and the chickens intercepted him and stole it.  The mouse didn't stand a chance between the cat and the chickens.

Just today, while I was outside trying to take pictures of my daughter, feeding the chickens scratch, they found a mouse.  I don't know if it was one they had or one the cat left, but the chase was on!  One chicken will be running with it, looking for a place to hide and eat it, and another chicken will steal it, and they will just keep on going.  Yes, these chickens today, chose the mouse over scratch.  (I  have to admit that I disposed of their mouse.  It was in bad shape. )

The smallest hen, claims her prize!  .... for a second!

My chickens get scraps from my kitchen.  Included in these scraps are sometimes cooked meat or eggs.  I feel that what we eat, they can eat (although I avoid giving them really sugary or salty foods).  I've found that chickens can be picky with some veggies, or even fruits.  But I don't think I've ever seen them turn down meat.

Yes, chickens enjoy a good old feast of meaty food.  Theirs no denying that, if you've ever had chickens.  But this is the nature of the beast.... Or shall I say, Chicken!

I want to add, that if I see my chickens eating mice that I try and get rid of the mice, because I worry about internal parasites being passed on from the mice.  Yuck!  

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