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Wild bird food for hens

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

 

I'm very new with raising backyard hens.  Is it safe to give them wild bird seed as a treat?  I've read that the sunflower seeds are good, but what about millet?

post #2 of 15

I am interested in this also.  Other issues are interesting also - like: If I let the Chickens run, and they get into the dropped seeds/"Droppings" of wild birds, can I expect any Chickens to survive? Would there be any Danger to eat the Eggs of the Chickens?

 

We Love Feeding Wild Birds and Squirrels - Must we give that up to have Chickens?

 

 

post #3 of 15

As a treat fine, not as a complete diet.

Den
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Den
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post #4 of 15

I use a wild bird seed that contains mostly millet and black sunflower seed in my grain mix. I mix it with oats, corn, and wheat. My flock also free ranges, and gets some greens and meat.

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by girlsat1435 View Post

 

I'm very new with raising backyard hens.  Is it safe to give them wild bird seed as a treat?  I've read that the sunflower seeds are good, but what about millet?


To both Handload and girlsat1435,

 

First off and foremost jumpropecrazyface-1.gifaaWelcome2theBYC.gif its a fun place to be thats  all there is to it.

 

They make a block with maple with all the sunflower and birdseed mix and the block foods they are a treat but they will not do at all for a healthy well balanced meal for new chix growing or juveniles growing or egg layer feed. You need to remember as babies they have baby stomachs and need to be fed like babies. Chopped and almost prepared foods. Remember that babies have food processed foods like carrot, pea's, and other veggies whipped or pureed up well that what Im saying baby food to start them right. Then to get medicated chicken feed for young chickens you will feed them until week 25 and then you will switch to another feed. During this time you will have the opportunity to feed them any on this list. So best of luck and welcome to the BYC.

 

Food Treat Chart From the BYC

Treat

Type

General Opinions

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, green beans.

Beets

Greens also.

.

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.

Cat food * (see bottom of page)

Wet and dry

Feed in strict moderation, perhaps only during molting * (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 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

Hard cooked 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.

Eggplant

.

.

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

Bulgur, flax, Niger, wheat berries, etc.

.

Grapes

Seedless only.

For chicks, cutting them in half makes it easier for them to swallow.

Great fun - the cause of many entertaining "chicken keep-a-way" games.

 Grits

Cooked

 

"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.

Mealworms

(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

Cantaloupe, 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

.

Peppers (bell)

.

.

Pomegranates

Raw

Seeds are a big treat.

Popcorn

Popped, no butter, no salt.

 

Potatoes / Sweet Potatoes/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.

Raisins

.

 

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.

Tomatoes

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.

The most favorite chicken treat of all – mealworms

 

Steve
               
It goes to show you how simple it is to entertain the human mind ........ get a couple of chickens
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Steve
               
It goes to show you how simple it is to entertain the human mind ........ get a couple of chickens
Reply
post #6 of 15

I have a copy of this list but I was wondering if I could feed my chicks any of these treats yet.  They are 2 weeks old and seem really bored.

Hansen Homestead /  Timmonsville, SC

Probably way too many chickens but happily overloaded.

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Hansen Homestead /  Timmonsville, SC

Probably way too many chickens but happily overloaded.

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post #7 of 15

At 2 wks mine loved little bits of fruit or cooked bits of noodles.  You could spoon feed them some baby food...favorites were sweet potato or corn casserole.   I've even given them uncooked oatmeal.  They also loved when I cut grass up in small pieces.  Make sure they have grit, dirt or sand available.

Got Silkies?
Original BYC Member since 2003

Autism Speaks...It's time to listen.

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Got Silkies?
Original BYC Member since 2003

Autism Speaks...It's time to listen.

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post #8 of 15

I've got 5 chicks that were just hatched by a hen 3 days ago. I'm following a Hawaiian Natural Farming feeding protocol for them: brown rice grains (uncooked and lightly ground), scrambled egg and chopped bamboo leaves. This diet is said to promote healthy gut growth, upon which so much of good health rests. So far so good - mama and chicks seem to love the food, and there's not a bit of pasty butt.

 

My last 2 hen hatched/raised batches of chicks last year were great learning experiences. The mama hens taught me how to feed the babies: basically, they eat whatever she eats. Three day old chicks can eat whole grains within a few days - I know, I see them do it. I find these chicks are much more robust, and are better foragers than the chicks I raised on starter feed.

post #9 of 15

All my chickens demand I open the bird seed bin every morning. They eat regular chicken feed but I do give them bird seed, scratch and leftovers too.  They're all healthy and happy.

Got Silkies?
Original BYC Member since 2003

Autism Speaks...It's time to listen.

Reply

Got Silkies?
Original BYC Member since 2003

Autism Speaks...It's time to listen.

Reply
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by junglebird View Post

I use a wild bird seed that contains mostly millet and black sunflower seed in my grain mix. I mix it with oats, corn, and wheat. My flock also free ranges, and gets some greens and meat.

My chickens especially LOVE millet. I mix millet in with my scratch. They seem to pick it out first and than go to the corn.. leaving the oats and barley (?) for the end.

Not as a complete diet for sure, but yes, they can eat it no problem.

Breeding: Silkies, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Ameraucanas, Naked Necks, Buckeyes, Welsummers, Marans and Mottled Houdans. 

 

Pictures by Les Farms are not to be used without written permission from me first, and never for any commercial gain. Thank you.

 

Visit our COOP Page! 

 

Raising CX Free Range ~ Poultry Sexing Tips ~ Raising Chickens Naturally 

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Breeding: Silkies, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Ameraucanas, Naked Necks, Buckeyes, Welsummers, Marans and Mottled Houdans. 

 

Pictures by Les Farms are not to be used without written permission from me first, and never for any commercial gain. Thank you.

 

Visit our COOP Page! 

 

Raising CX Free Range ~ Poultry Sexing Tips ~ Raising Chickens Naturally 

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