“Wait, chickens eating chicken meat? Isn’t that cannibalism?” If you’ve stumbled upon this post with the same bewildered reaction, let me assure you, you’re not alone. As a self-proclaimed chicken aficionado, I’ve had my fair share of surprises and curious discoveries. And, let me tell you, this was one such revelation that prompted a double-take.
Spoiler Alert – My chickens love meat. I give them table scraps nearly every day. Continue reading to learn more 🙂
The Initial Chicken Conundrum
As an urban farmer, my love affair with chickens began years ago when I got my first set of hens. Ethel, Betsy, and Clara – my lovely ladies – were not only great egg producers but were also delightful addition to my little urban farm. It was all smooth sailing until one day, I found myself confronted with a perplexing question.
One lazy Sunday afternoon, I found myself staring at the leftover chicken meat from lunch, pondering whether it could be a viable meal for my hens. I couldn’t help but cringe at the thought – it seemed unnatural, even wrong. But as a responsible farmer, I decided to dig deeper before jumping to conclusions.
The Chicken-Chicken Paradox: Unraveling the Truth
I plunged into a deep-dive, sifting through numerous scientific journals, articles, and forums. After hours of research, I was flabbergasted by what I found.
It turns out, chickens are omnivores by nature. In the wild, they feast on a variety of foods, including insects, grains, and small rodents. They are more than capable of eating and digesting meat, including chicken. However, the critical factor here is how the meat is prepared and presented.
Lessons From The Field
Chickens won’t recognize unseasoned, cooked chicken meat as their brethren. They see it as just another source of protein. With this newfound knowledge, I hesitantly decided to feed the leftovers to my girls. But, of course, not without some precautionary steps.
I made sure the chicken was thoroughly cooked and free from seasonings that could potentially harm my hens. Next, I shredded it into small pieces, making sure there were no bones that could cause choking hazards.
And then came the moment of truth. I cautiously tossed the shredded chicken into the pen. Ethel, Betsy, and Clara eyed the new entrant suspiciously. But within a minute, they descended upon it, pecking away voraciously. The chicken was gone in no time, and they were clucking around contentedly.
The Ethical Dimension
However, it wasn’t all about science and experiments. An ethical question still lingered. Was it morally right to feed chickens their own kind?
In my contemplation, I decided that as long as it was safe, not a regular practice, and done in moderation, I was comfortable with it. After all, chickens in the wild have diverse diets, and their bodies are built to handle meat. Still, I would refrain from making it a habitual dietary inclusion.
A Word of Caution
Despite my experiment’s success, I must emphasize that any introduction of meat must be approached with caution. Chickens can contract diseases from raw or undercooked meat, so it’s vital that any chicken meat is cooked thoroughly.
Also, never feed chickens meat from an unknown source or meat that may be spoiled. Chickens, just like humans, can suffer from food poisoning.
Finally, balance is key. While chickens can benefit from the extra protein boost, especially during molting season, a balanced diet with plenty of grains, fruits, and vegetables should be the mainstay.
In conclusion, my urban farming journey led me down a road that was initially discomforting but ultimately enlightening. Chickens can eat chicken meat – yes. Is it cannibalistic? Perhaps in our eyes, but to chickens, it’s just another protein source. However, as responsible chicken-keepers, we need to approach this with respect, ethical consideration, and most importantly, the well-being of our feathered friends at heart.