Had a few people recently who are not sure about the law on feeding chickens so thought I would do an article on it again to refresh everybodys memory.
This law was brought into force in the UK in 2001 after the last outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.
It states that no kitchen scraps,meat,animal bi-products or any food that has passed through a kitchen (commercial or domestic) can be fed to chickens. It is also illegal to allow them access to any of the above.
This law applies to all domestic keepers and the commercial industry, regardless of if you sell the eggs or not.
The reason for this strict approach is that vegetable material can easily get cross-contaminated with material of animal origin in a kitchen environment and, can in turn present a disease risk if fed.
In my view it is a sensible law as not one of us knows exactly what the food of today contains or what processes and additives it contains.
Chickens come under the livestock heading so are subject to rules and regulations even if they are looked upon as pets by their owners and feeding scraps could pose a possible disease risk.
Hens produce a food product in the form of an egg and all manner of nasties can be passed down through the egg which we humans then eat. Salmonella being one of them!!!!.
Some viruses are not killed by cooking and you could be passing this to your chickens.
It’s not that long ago when BSE reared it’s ugly head and that was passed on from beef cattle to humans in the form of CJD!!. This terrible disease occured due the cattle being fed food they should not have had and the disease was not killed off during the processing of the feed. Thousands of cattle had to be culled and some people are still suffering with CJD knowing it will kill them eventually.
The powers that be are very concerned that something similar could happen in the chicken world. If it did all chickens including yours would be forcefully culled.
Another good reason for not feeding scraps is that a chickens digestive system was never designed to cope with processed food,salt,sugar and all manner of additives and E numbers. This type of food does a great deal of harm to chickens.
Chickens should be fed on a commercial feed like layers pellets or layers mash that they have access to all day with treats of greens (every second day), mealworms and fruit can be given very late in the afternoon.
Please DO NOT feed your birds what they are not supposed to have. You are not being kind by “spoiling them” in fact the opposite is true.
More information can be found on the DEFRA website: www.defra.gov.uk
If you need any help or advice on this subject then please cantact myself or Sharon & we will be pleased to help.