We at the typesofchicken.com team love to give our chickens treats and write about all the different ways a chicken keeper can do it. But as with everything else there is a good and a bad side in giving your chickens treats and what we wanted to do is provide for our readers is provide an easy and simple table about the do`s and don`ts when giving your chickens treats.
|Apples||Raw and applesauce||Apple seeds contain cyanide, but not in sufficient quantities to kill.|
|Asparagus||Raw or cooked||Okay to feed, but not a favorite.|
|Bananas||Without the peel||High in potassium, a good treat.|
|Beans||Well-cooked only, never dry||Also, greenbeans.|
|Berries||All kinds||A treat, especially strawberries.|
|Breads||All kinds – good use for stale bread or rolls||Feed starches in moderation.|
|Broccoli & Cauliflower||.||Tuck into a suet cage and they will pick at it all day.|
|Cabbage & Brussels Sprouts||Whole head –||Hang a whole cabbage from their coop ceiling in winter so they have something to play with and greens to eat.|
|Carrots||Raw and cooked||They like carrot foliage too.|
|Catfood * (see bottom of page)||Wet and dry||Feed in strict moderation, perhaps only during moulting * (see bottom of page)|
|Cereal||Cheerios, etc.||Avoid highly sugared cereal such as Cocopuffs, etc.|
|Cheese||Including cottage cheese||Feed in moderation, fatty but a good source of protein and calcium|
|Cooked Chicken||.||They may like it and it won’t kill them, but it just seems so….. ummm………… wrong.|
|Corn||On cob and canned, raw and cooked||.|
|Crickets (alive)||Can be bought at bait or pet-supply stores.||Great treat – provides protein and it’s fun to watch the chickens catch them.|
|Cucumbers||Let mature for yummy seeds and flesh.|
|Eggs||Hardcooked and scrambled are a good source of protein, and a favorite treat.||Feed cooked eggs only because you don’t want your chickens to start eating their own raw eggs.|
|Fish / Seafood||Cooked only.|
|Flowers||Make sure they haven’t been treated with pesticides, such as florist flowers might be.||Marigolds, nasturtiums, pansies, etc.|
|Fruit||Pears, peaches, cherries, apples|
|Grains||Bulgar, flax, niger, wheatberries,etc.||.|
For chicks, cutting them in half makes it easier for them to swallow.
|Great fun – the cause of many entertaining “chicken keepaway” games.|
|“Leftovers”||Only feed your chickens that which is still considered edible by humans, don’t feed anything spoiled, moldy, oily, salty or unidentifiable.|
|Lettuce / Kale||Any leafy greens, spinach collards, chickweed included.||A big treat, depending on how much other greenery they have access to.|
(see photo after the chart)
|Available at pet supply stores or on the internet, although shipping is expensive!||A huge(!) favorite treat, probably the most foolproof treat on the books.|
|Meat scraps of any kind.||Not too fatty.||In moderation, a good source of protein|
|Melon||Cantelope, etc.||Both seeds and flesh are good chicken treats.|
|Oatmeal||Raw or cooked||Cooked is nutritionally better.|
|Pasta / Macaroni||Cooked spaghetti, etc.||A favorite treat, fun to watch them eat it, but not much nutrition.|
|Peas||Peas and pea tendrils and flowers (thanks to YayChick for the advice)||.|
|Pomegranates||Raw||Seeds are a big treat.|
|Popcorn||Popped, no butter, no salt.|
|Potatos / Sweet Potatos/Yams||Cooked only – avoid green parts of peels!||Starchy, not much nutrition|
|Pumpkins / Winter Squash||Raw or cooked||Both seeds and flesh are a nutritious treat.|
|Rice||Cooked only||Pilaf mixes are okay too, plain white rice has little nutrition.|
|Scratch||Scratch is cracked corn with grains (such as wheat, oats and rye) mixed in.||Scratch is a treat for cold weather, not a complete feed. Toss it on the ground and let them scratch for it for something to do.|
|Sprouts||Wheat and oat sprouts are great!||Good for greens in mid-winter.|
|Summer Squash||Yellow squash and zucchini||Yellow squash not a huge favorite, but okay to feed.|
|Sunflower Seeds||Sunflower seeds with the shell still on is fine to feed, as well as with the shell off.||A good treat, helps hens lay eggs and grow healthy feathers.|
|Tomatos||Raw and cooked.|
|Turnips||Cooked.||Not a huge favorite|
|Watermelon||Served cold, it can keep chickens cool and hydrated during hot summers.||Seeds and flesh are both okay to feed.|
|Yogurt||Plain or flavored||A big favorite and good for their digestive systems. Plain is better.|
Treats That Are NOT Good For Your Chickens
Giving some treats to your chickens that are not safe for them can cause huge health problems and in some cases death in the flock. Treats that can cause severe organ damage, loss in egg production, spreadable diseases etc. are considered dangerous for your chickens. These are the big no-no treats:
- Moldy Or Rotten Food
Well as we mentioned above do not give moldy or rotten food to your chickens, it is very dangerous and damaging for their organisms for the same reasons it is for ours.
- Raw Eggs
Giving raw eggs to your chickens may lead to them pecking their own eggs and that will not do good in any sort of way. Instead of raw, try giving them scrambled eggs.
- Dry Rice
Giving dry rice to your chickens as a part of their treat may cause severe damage to their internal organs and even death.
- Green Potato Skin
Green potato skins because of their color indicate the presence of Solanine. Solanine can be dangerous for birds so avoid giving green potato skins to your chickens
- Avocado Peels And Pit
The fruit itself can be very good for your chickens but the avocado peels and pit contain Persin which can be dangerous not only for birds but also for other animals so they are a big no-no.
The Best Treats You Can Give To Your Chickens
Again, as we mentioned above your chickens deserve to be spoiled by getting their nutritious treats from time to time, they enjoy eating them and are fun to watch while doing it – especially if they are not familiar with the treat the chicken keeper is presenting them. These are the best treats you can give to your chickens with high nutritious value:
- Worms ( Maggots, Earthworms, Meal Worms)
Worms are a good provider of protein for your chickens and are a must have as a treat every once in awhile. They are free or low cost in some cases and on top of that they have a high nutritious value.
Also one of the favorite treats for every chicken yogurt is healthy. Yogurt can also be a good base for many different recipes for chicken treats that many chicken keepers enjoy making.
Available every time and everywhere apples are one of the most given treats to chickens. But what many chicken keepers tend to forget is remove the seeds and that is bad because apple seeds contain small amounts of cyanide.
- Green Vegetables
Cabbage, kale, cucumber etc. are very easy to provide for your chickens and can have a very positive effect on the quality of the egg.
- Prepared Eggs
Scrambled eggs with some baked crushed eggshells is one of the best treats you can give to your chickens because eggs contain everything healthy that a chicken needs in order to provide quality eggs.
What do you give to your chickens as treats? Share your experiences in the comments below or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org