What Can Chickens Eat as a Treat?

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. 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.

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

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

Mealworms and Worms: Chickens go crazy for live or dried mealworms and worms. These are packed with protein.

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

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.

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.

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.

Processed Foods: Avoid processed people 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.

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

Raw Green Potato or Peels: These contain solanine toxin which can be deadly. Cooked potatoes are okay.

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.

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 chickens 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.

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