Age appropriate treats?

LCG Chicken Coop

Songster
Sep 18, 2019
104
791
226
Lafayette, CA
Hi,
We've successfully transferred our flock of 17 to the a big coop. They are 6 weeks old, and I am loading up two small treat balls each day just to make their day a little more interesting. They love barley grass which I sprout for them, but I heard that chicks should only eat small clippings rather than down the whole blade of grass and harm their crop/digestive tract? When can I sprout a small pan of grass and just place it in the coop? (I'll break it into smaller subdivisions to minimize the chaos.)

Thanks for any input!
 

Wishing4Wings

Isn't it Amazing?
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
May 7, 2012
39,476
71,268
1,467
Sonoma County, CA
Greens are a great treat for chickens. Kale is particularly good. I think the trouble with eating grass comes when people dump a big pile of lawn clippings in the coop and the chickens over eat, which can cause an impacted crop. As long as your chicks have grit available to them, I don't think you have to worry about them swallowing the occasional long piece of grass. Just make sure you don't give too much at once. You can sprout it in soil (so it roots) and the chickens can bite off small pieces. Try chopping up some green curly leaf kale to put in the treat balls. They will love it and no worries about impacted crops.

As for when to offer the fodder, a mama hen will have her chicks eating everything she does as soon as they are up and about, but she will break it into appropriate pieces. Start will small amounts and see how the chicks do with it. Moderation is the key!
 
Last edited:

slordaz

hatchaholic
5 Years
Apr 15, 2015
3,456
6,394
602
Idaho
first thing you consider before giving young ones treats is do they have access to dirt and small pebbled in their area, if not you need to get them chick grit.

Have never had a problem with giving them a piece of sod that has the dirt still on the roots, I never put grass clippings in there, they love the little roller you can put meal worms in, Other things they like is minced fruit and vegetables that don't have any seeds in it. They think if I give them wet down chick feed they got a treat too. all my chickens once out side like the occasional minced garlic too.
 

LCG Chicken Coop

Songster
Sep 18, 2019
104
791
226
Lafayette, CA
Greens are a great treat for chickens. Kale is particularly good. I think the trouble with eating grass comes when people dump a big pile of lawn clippings in the coop and the chickens over eat, which can cause an impacted crop. As long as your chicks have grit available to them, I don't think you have to worry about them swallowing the occasional long piece of grass. Just make sure you don't give too much at once. You can sprout it in soil (so it roots) and the chickens can bite off small pieces. Try chopping up some green curly leave kale to put in the treat balls. They will love it and no worries about impacted crops.

As for when to offer the fodder, a mama hen will have her chicks eating everything she does as soon as they are up and about, but she will break it into appropriate pieces. Start will small amounts and see how the chicks do with it. Moderation is the key!
Thanks so much, this is very helpful!
 

LCG Chicken Coop

Songster
Sep 18, 2019
104
791
226
Lafayette, CA
first thing you consider before giving young ones treats is do they have access to dirt and small pebbled in their area, if not you need to get them chick grit.

Have never had a problem with giving them a piece of sod that has the dirt still on the roots, I never put grass clippings in there, they love the little roller you can put meal worms in, Other things they like is minced fruit and vegetables that don't have any seeds in it. They think if I give them wet down chick feed they got a treat too. all my chickens once out side like the occasional minced garlic too.
Thank you! I do have a ceramic bowl of chick grit available to them, so yes in theory they should be digesting well. Is there a reason you do not give the seeds? One of my friends gives her hens "melon guts" complete with seeds--is that not digestible? Or is that just not good for young pullets?
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,173
33,753
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
One of my friends gives her hens "melon guts" complete with seeds--is that not digestible? Or is that just not good for young pullets?

Whole seeds are fine as long as the chickens have a source of grit. I'd only be a little more cautious if the seeds are relatively large, compared to the size of the younger birds.
 

slordaz

hatchaholic
5 Years
Apr 15, 2015
3,456
6,394
602
Idaho
Thank you! I do have a ceramic bowl of chick grit available to them, so yes in theory they should be digesting well. Is there a reason you do not give the seeds? One of my friends gives her hens "melon guts" complete with seeds--is that not digestible? Or is that just not good for young pullets?
just cause I can't remember which ones are used to make cyanide, and don't wanna poison my chickens
 

Wishing4Wings

Isn't it Amazing?
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
May 7, 2012
39,476
71,268
1,467
Sonoma County, CA
just cause I can't remember which ones are used to make cyanide, and don't wanna poison my chickens
Stone fruits (cherries, apricots, peaches, and plums) have some, but luckily the chickens don't eat the pits! Apple seeds and I've heard pear seeds contain some as well. My chickens have have apple and pear trees in their yard and have eaten a few seeds without any ill effects.
 

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