To keep chickens happy, healthy and laying bounties of delicious eggs, they need to be fed a varied diet rich in protein and calcium- most of which should come from their layer feed, as well as little tidbits they find while foraging. However, like with humans, it’s nice to splurge a little sometimes and have a treat, while it may not contribute much nutrition wise, it does taste doubly delicious!
Chickens love a good treat from time to time, and as a chicken keeper, there is nothing quite like seeing your flocks funny little faces light up when they know an extra tasty morsel is coming up! It is important to remember a treat is just that- a treat, and they should make up no more than 10% of your chicken’s overall diet, otherwise you will start compromising the health of your hens.
Giving your girls some goodies is also a great way to earn their trust and is particularly useful when it comes to training your flock to come when called. Each chicken will have their own particular likes and dislikes, and what one of your hens may gobble down with delight, another will avoid like the plague.
After many years of chicken keeping, and countless trial and error, we have come up with our top 5 treats for chickens- even the fussiest of hens are sure to like one of these delectable delights! (If not, you have some very fussy hens on your hands!). So if you feel like your girls are in need of a little spoiling, or you really just need your girls to get out of your garden, have one of these treats at the ready- your flock will be at your beck and call in no time!
Berries are a favourite amongst chickens. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or blueberries- it doesn’t matter, you will be hard pressed to find a chicken that doesn’t love the taste of these super sweet treats! Scatter a few of the fresh variety in the run and delight in watching your chickens gobble up these tasty morsels.
While it may not sound appealing to us, mealworms are a super treat for chickens- they are a great source of protein, and your flock will go bonkers over them! Feed it to them by hand, scatter them on the ground, or add it to their feeding dish- no matter how you choose to do it, your chickens will love you for it! You can easily throw many of these treats into our patented treadle feeder. Check out our video below showing you how it keeps pests out at night!
It’s a great winter warmer for us humans, but did you know that chickens love a hearty bowl of oatmeal too? While it may be a treat, oats are full of nutrients that will keep your chickens fighting fit and their tummies warm and happy! So when you next make your morning bowl of oats, make double for your flock, being sure to use water in place of milk. You can also add a number of toppings to make it extra appealing. Some of our favourites include, raisins, scratch, mealworms, sunflower seeds, berries and dried or fresh herbs- spoilt hens indeed!
Raw or cooked, flesh and seeds- pumpkins are a great nutritious treat for chickens. Your hens will love pecking at this fleshy and delicious veggie, and their seeds are a natural dewormer so it’s a win-win for keeping happy and healthy hens!
Given very sparingly, plain yoghurt is a great treat, and can help promote a healthy digestive system in chickens. Many believe that yoghurt can’t be broken down properly by chickens, but this is only if it is given to them very regularly and in large portions. Just a small amount on their feeding dish is great to cool them down on particularly hot days, and they go crazy for the taste!
Can chickens eat potatoes?
Alongside these top 5 treats, you should also consider potatoes. However there are some only some potatoes that'll be good for your flock.
White, red, and yellow potatoes are not recommended for chickens. I repeat, chickens should not eat these potatoes! They are part of the nightshade family alongside tomatoes and eggplant and contain toxins that can harm a chicken's internal organs. Why not compost your potato peels instead!?
On the other hand, sweet potatoes are a great nutritious snack for your feathered friends. Their leaves, stems, vines, flowers, peels and flesh are all safe for chickens to eat. They are enjoy them both cooked and raw.
So let your chickens enjoy your sweet potato peelings, scraps and leftovers.
It’s important to stress that each of these treats are only given very sparingly, and are fed in line with a balanced and varied diet, rich with all the essential nutrients to keep your chickens clucking for many years to come!
Preparing nutritious mealtimes for optimal chicken health can be stressful and confusing. Many health issues experienced by our girls are due to an imbalanced diet. You might find yourself asking: what to feed, when to feed, how to feed, and why?!
Cluckily, there is no need to be overwhelmed by all the options because our friends at Chickenpedia can help you find out what’s best for your flock at all ages. This is why I recommend their Feeding Peckish Chickens course to all my readers. Through their course, unearth nutrient-rich foods to help your chickens stay healthy, live longer, and produce the best eggs. Keep those yolks nice and yellow! The course shares advice and information on the best food for your flock as well as quantity control, storage, and timing for feeds.
Feeding time is also a great one for entertainment and this course provides bonus content filled with DIY boredom busters, toys, and treats for your flock. Become an eggspert and gain the confidence needed to choose the right chicken feed and know which ones to avoid.
Be sure to click here to visit Chickenpedia today to check out ALL of their amazing courses.