Free feed, restaurant produce

Do you have any idea how much food a restaurant throws away every day? Let me rephrase you have any idea how much "good" food a restaurant throws away every day? How about half a garbage bag full of brand new salad? That's right. 

Health code rules read something like this: (their phrasing is less easy to understand though) If food sits out for more than an hour, it cannot be refrigerated again. I'm seriously paraphrasing there, but the idea is that when they fill those huge salad hoppers in the kitchen everything that isn't sold must be pitched at the end of the day. It can't be re-refrigerated overnight for the next day. 

That is a serious waste of good food! Since I'm a frugal chicken keeper, I opened my big mouth at a local restaurant and asked if my critters could have it. This is what I came home with:

Free feed for chickens: ask for restaurant excess!

feeding, chickens, cheaply

That is ONE day's salad waste. That is a 30 gallon garbage bag! Now of course, some days more salads sell and there is less left over. Other days there is more. There is not a darn thing wrong with it other then the fact that it was closing time at the restaurant.

This isn't limited to just restaurants. I know a goat farm that gets all the pre-made fruit and veggie trays that don't sell from their local grocery store. I know another person that picks up old produce from a grocery store every week. Point is, it doesn't hurt to ask. Make sure you mention 'animal feed' as there are regulations about giving this stuff out for people to eat! Just make sure to cut away any moldy spots (though bruised spots are ok) before you feed the fruit or veggies to your flock.

It's winter here now and most of the greenery has died off. It makes me feel a whole lot better about the flocks diet when I can fill their bowls with fresh greens! Plus, it really cuts down on my feed bill by adding this and other sources of free or cheap feed to their diets!


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  1. Wow! That's a lot of salad! I had no idea you could ask for food for your animals. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Be warned that most grocery store chains (Kroger, Target, etc) will not give you anything. They are afraid of lawsuits. Locally owned grocery stores would be a better bet. It's very sad to see how much gets tossed daily.

    1. It really is sad. Because of lawsuits they often throw out so much food that could be put to good use at shelters. I know some places will ask you to sign a waver saying that it's not for human consumption. It's a shame what things have come to!