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good treats vs bad treats?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by yyz0yyz0, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Songster

    May 2, 2012
    Ok so I understand that as with anything moderation is the key. But I"m wondering if there are treats that are more a feed supplement vs treats that are strictly treats.

    For instance it's my understanding that pasta is a treat that doesn't supply much nutrition on it's own. On the opposite side giving treats of mealworms packs lots of value for the birds. It's probably the same things as for humans, the more processed a food item the less value it has for us. So I assume it's the same for the girls, fresh fruits, vegs, grains etc are better then bread, pasta, cereals, etc etc.

    Does the rule of keeping treats to a small % of their food apply to all treats or can some be treated differently than others? I"ve read through the "treat charts", but the most detail on this given is some items do say to feed in moderation.

    If birds are free range, isn't most of what they eat what we would consider "treats" for a confined flock? Back in the day free range for 90% of their diet was probably the norm.

    Or is it a case of variety that matters most? So if say 10% as treats is the guideline and I give 10% in apples then later that day 10% in squash seeds, then 10% in pumpkin flesh, then 10% in bugs, then 10% in oatmeal, etc etc. Is that overdoing the treats or is it feeding a balanced diet?

  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Oh honey, don't make it so much work!

    First, you won't hurt your chickens by letting them eat pretty much anything. They can survive on amazing diets.

    Okay, we want our birds to do more than survive, we want them healthy and productive. So, go by those indicators. If your birds are healthy, active, glossy feathers, laying well, not susceptible to illness or parasites, whatever you're doing is just fine.

    I'm of the opinion that variety is good, and birds are great at self regulating. I know I don't get exactly the perfect ratios of carbs/fat/protein in my diet each day, but it evens out over a week or so. Same with my chickens. One day my birds may get a lot of meat, one day I made salsa and they get all the leftovers from that. It all evens out over time and my birds are healthy. I know some folks swear the bulk of their nutrition MUST come from commercial feed, and I do think that's a good base. But I always liken it in my mind to Ensure for humans. Sure, it has everything you need to live, but come on, who wants to eat just that forever? [​IMG]

    Don't stress so much over "rules" and "guidelines". Feed your birds what you want, in my case all our kitchen/garden scraps, and just keep an eye on how healthy they are. Your birds will tell you if they need something different, and you won't have done irreversible harm to them.
    2 people like this.
  3. chfite

    chfite Songster

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    Here is the technical answer. I provide commercial ration all the time. The flock forages all day. Once a day, I toss out a 10 ounce cup of black oil sunflower seeds into the grass. They get leftover food from meals as well as leftovers from the preparation of food. They eat what they want. All 8 are happy.

    I try not to overthink for a creature that can think for itself.


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