Having chickens that are healthy and happy is a goal of anyone who has these animals on their homestead or in their backyard. This includes treats for chickens. Know what you can safely give to your flock and what you will want to avoid.
Raising chickens that thrive year-round giving you eggs every day to enjoy.
An important part of raising chickens is by providing them with a balanced diet, but there are also treats that can add variety and nutrition for the flock as an occasional addition to their regular diet. We’ll cover what you can give your flock any time throughout the year as well as what foods you should not give to your chickens.
Treats for chickens
Chickens, like any other animal, enjoy a variety of treats in addition to their regular feed. These can be used as rewards for training or simply as a special treat for your feathered friends. However, it is important to choose safe and healthy options that will not harm your chickens. We’ll take a look at some tasty and nutritious treats that chickens love.
- Fruits and vegetables – Chickens love a variety of fruits and veggies such as watermelon, pumpkin, carrots, and leafy greens. These treats are not only delicious but also provide essential vitamins and minerals for your chickens’ health.
- Mealworms – Mealworms are a great source of protein for chickens and can be fed fresh or dried. They are especially beneficial during molting season when chickens need extra protein to grow new feathers.
- Grains and seeds – Chickens enjoy a variety of grains and seeds such as oats, barley, and sunflower seeds. These treats can be scattered in their coop or run for them to peck at throughout the day.
- Cooked eggs – Surprisingly, chickens love eating cooked eggs! This is a great way to use up any cracked or broken eggs from your flock. Cooked eggs are also a good source of protein for chickens.
- Yogurt – Plain, unsweetened yogurt is a healthy treat for chickens as it contains probiotics that can aid in digestion and improve their overall health.
- Herbs – Many herbs have medicinal properties that can benefit chickens. Some popular choices include oregano, garlic, and thyme. These herbs can be given fresh or dried to your flock.
- Insects – Chickens are natural foragers and love to hunt for insects such as worms, beetles, and grasshoppers. You can also purchase freeze-dried insects specifically made for chickens as a special treat.
- Leftovers – As long as they are not spoiled or moldy, chickens can enjoy leftovers from your kitchen, such as cooked rice, pasta, and vegetables. Just make sure to avoid giving them anything spicy or high in salt content.
- Grit – While not necessarily a treat, grit is an important part of a chicken’s diet as it helps them grind and digest their food. Make sure to provide your chickens with a constant supply of grit, either through commercial products or by allowing them access to small stones or sand.
- Fresh fruits – Chickens can also enjoy occasional treats of fresh fruits such as watermelon, grapes, and berries. Just make sure to remove any seeds or pits before giving it to them.
It’s important to remember that treats should make up no more than 10% of a chicken’s diet. Too many treats can lead to nutritional imbalances and health issues. It’s also important to introduce new treats slowly and in small quantities to avoid upsetting the delicate balance of a chicken’s digestive system.
In addition to providing tasty treats, it’s also important to make sure your chickens have access to clean water at all times. Water is essential for their overall health and well-being.
What foods are lethal to chickens?
While it is important to provide your chickens with treats, there are certain foods that can be lethal to them. These should always be avoided to ensure the safety and well-being of your flock. Some common foods that are toxic to chickens include:
- Avocado – This fruit contains a substance called persin which is highly toxic to birds.
- Chocolate – While humans love it, chocolate is toxic to chickens due to the presence of theobromine.
- Onions and garlic – These foods contain compounds that can cause anemia in chickens.
- Raw beans – Certain types of raw beans contain a toxin called phytohaemagglutinin which can be fatal to chickens.
- Apple seeds – The seeds of apples contain a substance called cyanide which can be deadly to chickens in large doses.
- Tomato leaves and stems – These parts of the tomato plant contain solanine, a toxic compound that can cause digestive upset and paralysis in chickens.
- Citrus fruits – The high acidity of citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, and oranges can upset the digestive system of chickens.
- Moldy or spoiled food – These foods can contain harmful bacteria and toxins that can make chickens sick.
- Alcohol – Just like humans, chickens should not consume alcohol as it can cause liver damage and other health issues.
- Green potatoes or peelings – Potatoes that have turned green contain a compound called solanine, which is toxic to chickens.
Overall, treats can be a fun and enjoyable way to bond with your flock and provide them with extra nutrition. Just make sure to do so in moderation and always prioritize their main diet of high-quality feed. With the right balance, your chickens will be happy, healthy, and full of treats! So go ahead and spoil your feathered friends, they deserve it.