We all know that your fine-feathered beauties enjoy their grains, but the same food can be boring for chickens as well as their owners.
Not sure what to give them as a treat?
We have some tips on what not to feed them, how much you can indulge your ladies and then some delectable treats and how to present them as not only a snack but an eating event.
The first rule of thumb is pretty much like a human: Eat the 90% nutritional food first, and then the 10% treats, although several of the treats we have for you also have nutritional value for your flock.
Feeding your chickens is around 75% of the monthly costs of keeping your flock, so you may not want to spend a lot on specialized treats.
However, if you are looking to treat your chickens, you can get tons of amazing chicken treats on Amazon, and if you have Prime with that free shipping, you’re good to go!
Before you begin looking for treats here are few things you can cross of that list.
The following foods are not good for chickens to eat:
- Dairy only in small amounts
- Moldy or Rotten Fruits and Veggies
- Coffee or Chocolate
- Anything Pickled
- Apple Cores and seeds or any Fruit with seeds
Some of these are because of how they affect the chicken, but many of them can affect the taste of the eggs also.
Chicken Treats from your garden or backyard:
Provide plenty of nutrients, including protein for your flock and make their eggs more nutritious.
These may be a scourge for lawn growers, but chickens love them. They are a great source of Vitamin A, potassium, iron, and calcium.
These provide chlorophyll which in turns produces carotenoids which cause yolks to be a more vibrant yellow. All greens have some nutritional value except for iceberg lettuce.
Chickweed as it names suggests are a favorite of your feather friends. It has all the other excellent benefits of vitamins and protein that other weeds have, but it also has the added benefit of being a natural pain reliever. However, clover is the most nutritionally complete weed there is!
For a complete list of weeds to feed to your chickens, check out this post!
Carrots, Tops, and All!
These are easy to grow and have high levels of Vitamin A and anti-carcinogens. Consumption of these orange beauties can cause eggs to have a yolk that has a deeper orange shade.
Note: Chickens will have a hard time eating full raw carrots, but you can shred them with a cheese grater or cook them first to make it easier!
As we know, cabbage is full of vitamins, but more importantly, for chickens, contributes calcium to their diet, which is essential for the egg-layers.
Pumpkins, gourds, squash
These garden beauties are rich in Vitamin A, B and C which have been shown to increase the growth of your birds, relieve their stress and help in hatching chicks.
Chicken Treats to buy at the store:
These are a particular favorite of the chickens and are chock full of Vitamins A, B complex and C and beta-carotene also.
Black Sunflower Seeds
Black oil sunflower seeds are higher in oils and fats than grey sunflower seeds and provide your chickens with healthier feathers, an increase in egg production and help them to stay warm during those cold winter months.
This is a wonderful treat during those cold winter months. Mixing a bowl of cooked oatmeal with some of the other treats on this list doesn’t only warm their tummies, but it is also teeming with vitamins, protein, and antioxidants.
Chicken Treats to order online:
Sea kelp has a trifecta of benefits. It is highly nutritious with over nine vitamins, promotes egg production, and also boosts your flock’s immune system.
These are high protein for your coop dwellers providing 50% of their protein intake needed per day if you feed them the dried mealworms or 30% of the required amount if you give them live mealworms.
Grubblies are our favorite source for grubs, unlike most, they originate right here in the US and are a healthy, natural choice for your chickens!
Flax seed contains omega 3 fatty acids which actually change the fat profile within the eggs, which has been shown to reduce the cholesterol level in those that consume them.
Hemp Seeds are high in quality fats which give your flock a significant boost in energy.
One thing to always keep in mind is that chickens require grit to digest their food and since several of these treats do not contain grit, place a small dish of grit to the side of the coop. Your chickens will take as much as they need.
Chicken Treats to make yourself:
In the summer you can take any of these treats and freeze them in small cubes of water or by themselves, and it will serve a dual purpose of cooling down your birds while giving them a treat.
You can take it even one step further by gathering a handful of items into a larger block of ice with a piece of jute string frozen from the middle of the block. Then tie it up in the pen and let the water cool them from the outside as they peck to get to the treat.
Make garlands out of fruits and veggies and hang in the pen at different levels or along the sides. The flock will go wild over them.
Cutting or breaking a watermelon, squash or pumpkin in half and serving it in the chicken coop can bring about quite the squawk. The idea of a whole smorgasbord of delectable goodness makes those cluckers very happy.
So don’t be afraid to be creative in feeding your flock. They enjoy their food in different ways just like we do!