What Can Chickens Eat as a Treat? The Top Healthy Options

Article Summary

  • Safe treats for chickens include fruits, vegetables, grains, leafy greens, mealworms, seeds, nuts, herbs, yogurt, cottage cheese, and scratch grains.
  • These treats should be natural, healthy, and bite-sized for safety and variety to keep chickens interested.
  • Chickens should not be given salty foods, sugary foods, processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, avocado, raw green potato or peels, raw beans, raw dried beans, or moldy or rotten foods.

Do you want to spoil your chickens with something special? Giving treats to chickens can be a fun way to bond with them and enrich their diet. However, not all human foods are safe for chickens. This guide will go over what treats chickens can and cannot eat.

Do Chickens Like Treats?

Chickens absolutely love treats! Just like any pet, they get excited when you bring them something yummy. It’s a great way to train them and build a positive relationship. Chickens have preferences for certain foods and will come running when they smell a favorite snack.

Offering treats is enriching for chickens mentally and physically.

Offering treats is enriching for chickens mentally and physically. It gives them something fun to do and encourages natural foraging behavior. Pecking and searching for treats satisfies their instincts.

Moderation is key, though. Many treats should be occasional, making up only a small part of their diet. Too many can lead to obesity and health issues. Still, used wisely, treats are a chickens delight!

What Treats Are Safe For Chickens?

Many healthy, natural foods make great chicken treats. Here are some optimal options:

Fruits and Veggies: Pieces of fruit like watermelon, grapes, berries, melon, and apples are big hits. Most veggies are fair game too, like tomato, broccoli, squash, spinach, and carrot bits.

A Variety of Fresh Fruits
Different Fresh Fruits

Grains: Whole grains like rice, barley, wheat, oats, and corn are enjoyed. Cooked pasta or bread (no seasoning) works too.

Leafy Greens: Chickens relish leafy greens. Try bits of kale, lettuce, cabbage, celery leaves, or fresh sprouts.

Farmer Feeding Chickens Leafy Vegetable Compost
Leafy Vegetable Compost

Mealworms and Worms: Chickens go crazy for live or dried mealworms and worms. These are packed with protein, which is a great source for laying chickens.

Seeds and Nuts: Things like sunflower seeds, chopped nuts, and flax seeds make great toppers.

A Close Look at Safflower Seeds
Safflower Seeds

Herbs: Herbs provide variety. Basil, dill, mint, parsley, or cilantro are good options.

Yogurt and Cottage Cheese: Plain yogurt and cottage cheese are nutritious picks chickens love.

A Bowl of Yogurt
A Bowl of Yogurt

Scratch Grains: Commercial scratch mixes or cracked corn make excellent treats.

When it comes to proper feeding and diet for chickens, it’s essential to keep their treats natural, healthy, and bite-sized for safety. Additionally, offering a variety of foods not only keeps chickens interested but also ensures they receive balanced nutrition.

Homemade Treat Recipes for Chickens

Chickens love treats just as much as we do! But what can chickens eat as a treat? Here are some homemade treat recipes that are not only delicious for your feathered friends but also packed with nutrients.

Pumpkin Pie Bites

Chickens go crazy for pumpkins! To make these tasty treats, mix pureed pumpkin with oats, flaxseed meal, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Form small balls and bake them in the oven until they are firm. Your chickens will peck at this homemade recipe with delight!

Mealworm Delight

Chickens love mealworms, and this treat is sure to be a hit. Mix dried mealworms with crushed cornflakes and sunflower seeds. You can also add a spoonful of peanut butter for extra flavor. Serve this crunchy delight to your chickens and watch them gobble it up.

Herb Salad Surprise

Chickens enjoy fresh herbs, and this salad is a great way to give them a healthy treat. Chop up a variety of herbs like parsley, basil, and dill. Mix them with shredded carrots, diced cucumbers, and a sprinkle of crushed eggshells for added calcium. Your chickens will love pecking at this herb-filled salad.

Berry Blast Popsicles

Treat your chickens to a cool and refreshing snack on hot summer days. Blend a mixture of berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries with water or coconut water. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze them overnight. Your chickens will enjoy pecking at these fruity popsicles to beat the heat.

Veggie Kabobs

Chickens love vegetables, so why not serve them on a stick? Thread pieces of bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumber onto skewers. Grill or roast the kabobs until the vegetables are tender. Your chickens will have fun pecking at these colorful and nutritious veggie kabobs.

NOTE

Homemade options can be a great choice, as they allow you to control the ingredients and ensure the health and well-being of your flock. These options also provide a fun and tasty way to bond with your feathered friends.

From nutritious vegetable scraps to protein-packed mealworms, there are plenty of options to choose from. Just remember to introduce new treats gradually and always provide a balanced diet. So, the next time you’re wondering, “what can chickens eat as a treat,” consider whipping up one of these homemade recipes. Your chickens will thank you!

Age Considerations for Chicken Treats

When it comes to providing treats for your chickens, it’s important to consider their age. Different age groups of chickens have different nutritional needs and dietary requirements.

Young Chicks

For young chicks, it’s best to stick to a balanced chick feed that is specifically formulated for their growth and development. Their digestive systems are still developing, so introducing treats too early can cause digestive issues. However, once they reach around 8 weeks of age, you can start introducing small amounts of treats into their diet.

Juvenile Chickens

For juvenile chickens, which are typically between 8 and 16 weeks old, treats can be given in moderation. However, it’s important to choose treats that are appropriate for their age and size. Treats that are too large or hard can pose a choking hazard. Some suitable treats for this age group include small pieces of fruits and vegetables, mealworms, or cooked eggs.

Adult Chickens

Adult chickens, which are over 16 weeks old, can enjoy a wider variety of treats. They have fully developed digestive systems and can handle a wider range of foods. However, it’s still important to provide treats in moderation to ensure they maintain a balanced diet. Some popular treats for adult chickens include scratch grains, kitchen scraps (such as leftover fruits and vegetables), and herbs like parsley or mint.

RECOMMENDATION

Avoid giving chickens any high-salt, sugary, fatty, toxic or harmful foods such as chocolate or avocado.

When considering what treats to give your chickens, it’s important to take their age into account. Start slowly with treats for young chicks and gradually introduce more variety as they grow older. Remember to always provide treats in moderation and avoid offering large quantities and any foods that may be harmful to their health.

What Treats Are Not Safe For Chickens?

Children Feeding a Plymouth Rock Chicken

While chickens will eat almost anything, some treats are unhealthy or unsafe. Here are some to avoid:

Salty Foods: Salt is bad for chickens. Avoid salty snacks like chips, pretzels, popcorn, or salty crackers.

Sugary Foods: Too much sugar is unhealthy. Don’t give candy, cookies, cake, or other sweets.

Different Candies Displayed in a Store
Different Candies Displayed in a Store

Processed Foods: Avoid processed people’s food like leftover take-out, fried foods, lunchmeat, or seasoned dishes.

Caffeine and Alcohol: Obviously, chickens should not consume coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, or alcohol.

Cappuccino in a White Cup
A Cup of Cappuccino

Avocado: The skin and pit contain the toxin person, which is poisonous to chickens.

Raw Green Potato or Green Potato Skins: These contain solanine toxins, which can be deadly. Cooked potatoes (even small amounts of potato skin) are okay.

A Closeup View of Raw Red Beans
Raw Red Beans

Raw Beans: Raw beans have phytohemagglutinin, which is toxic. Cook beans thoroughly before feeding.

Raw Dried Beans: Uncooked dried beans, like kidney beans, are toxic. Make sure they are boiled before feeding.

Moldy or Rotten Foods: Don’t feed anything moldy, rotten, or expired – this can make chickens very sick.

Rotten Lemon With Molds
Moldy Lemon

It’s true that giving treats to chickens can help strengthen your bond with them. However, it’s important to keep in mind that chickens are able to eat almost anything, and some human foods can actually be harmful to their health.

If you’re not sure whether a particular food is safe for your chickens, it’s best to avoid giving it to them. By sticking to a natural, whole-food diet and only giving them safe treats, you can help to ensure that your feathered friends stay healthy and happy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is chicken’s favorite treat?

Chickens have a wide range of favorite treats, but some popular choices include mealworms, sunflower seeds, grains, fruits like watermelon or berries, and kitchen scraps like cooked rice or pasta.

What vegetables can chickens not eat?

Chickens should not be given certain vegetables, such as raw potatoes, green tomatoes, and eggplant, as they contain solanine, which can be harmful to them. Additionally, onions and garlic should be avoided in excess.

Is anything poisonous to chickens?

Yes, some substances are poisonous to chickens, including chocolate, caffeine, avocado, and anything moldy or spoiled. Certain ornamental plants like oleander and rhubarb can also be toxic to them.

What should you not feed your chickens?

You should not feed your chickens foods high in salt, sugary treats, or processed foods. Avoid giving them anything containing additives or preservatives. Additionally, moldy or spoiled food should never be offered to chickens as it can be harmful to their health.

How many snacks should I give them?

It is important to provide your pet with a balanced diet and not overfeed them with snacks. The number of snacks you should give your pet depends on their size, age, and activity level. As a general guideline, it is recommended to limit snacks to no more than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric intake. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate number of snacks for your specific pet. Remember to choose healthy and nutritious snacks that are suitable for your pet’s dietary needs.