How do I encourage treat eating?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by JNorth, May 24, 2012.

  1. JNorth

    JNorth Chirping

    243
    8
    93
    Mar 7, 2012
    Western New York
    My chickens are very picky eaters, it seems. I know they are eating something because they have been going through feed more slowly and they are happy and active. But, when I put a treat in the run they won't touch it. Other than grass clippings. This morning I put a giant mound of slugs and after a quick inspection turn away from them... aren't they supposed to like go nuts over them? (I was hoping since apparently we live on a slug hot bed and our garden is under attack. I'm using a water/sugar/yeast mixture to bait and trap them.) Is there anyway, other than just bringing something every day to get them to eat more than just feed? Is it okay if they don't eat anything other than feed?
     
  2. NYREDS

    NYREDS Crowing

    5,644
    414
    303
    Jan 14, 2008
    Commercial feeds are a balanced diet for chickens. You say they eat grass clippings which is a good suppliment for them as is any green food. There's no particular reason to add anything else to their diet.
    Not sure where you heard that chickens "go nuts" over slugs but I've never seen a chicken eat a slug.
     
  3. JNorth

    JNorth Chirping

    243
    8
    93
    Mar 7, 2012
    Western New York
    Thanks for that info. Interesting about the slugs though, I've heard it from so many people. Must be an acquired taste! :)
     
  4. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Songster

    615
    90
    154
    May 2, 2012
    I have seen chickens come running to the fence when they see me coming with a big jar of slugs. They would then proceed to "tear um up". Same response to earthworms, it's a mob scene anytime I throw them into the pen.
     
  5. Chickens will eagerly go after worms and grubs and maybe pick at the occasional slug. Ducks, however, love slugs and make great pest controllers for the lawn & garden.

    I greet my flock each day with treats, usually it is something that I know that they will eat readily. They come running when they see me and because they are expectinbg a treat when they see me, it's fairly easy for me to introduce new items to their diet..."Well, he brought it out to us...we must be able to eat it...whatever it is?"
     
  6. BeulahBreezes

    BeulahBreezes Songster

    348
    17
    111
    Mar 31, 2012
    Western NY
    Hi! I'm new at chickenin' too! I have 4 13 week olds....they didn't care for treats until just recently! I tried all the treats that I had heard they like, but my chicks would just walk away.... Now they will eat just about anything I toss their way. DH and I like to eat our dinner at the picnic table and when we sit down, the chickens come a runnin'! Its fun to see what they like to eat...well, they eat just about every vegetable that we toss to them!
    So maybe its just a 'maturity' thing...?!
    ps...WELCOME!
    I live in western NY also!
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    23,233
    11,919
    696
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    There are multiple species of slug. It is likely some are fowl tasting or can be as a function of the types of plants consumed.

    Try meal worms as treat.
     
  8. JNorth

    JNorth Chirping

    243
    8
    93
    Mar 7, 2012
    Western New York
    It's been a little while now since I first posted this and we've had some breakthroughs. First, they LOVE fruits... grapes, strawberry, cantaloupe, watermelon and banana. They now get excited when they see me coming with the treat bin. And, they still won't eat slugs but seem to love picking at the snails (which we have a ton!) It's interesting to see which foods they just will not eat and what they love. Like they will eat parsley but turn away from baby spinach and broccoli.
     
  9. binders

    binders Songster

    266
    3
    101
    Sep 4, 2011
    Mine won't touch strawberries. But broccoli, grapes and watermelon are fine. I thought they'd really like the strawberries. Who knows what goes on in the little brains!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: