How many 'treats" are too much?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by farmgirl06, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. farmgirl06

    farmgirl06 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 9, 2013
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    Hello! I am wondering how to tell if I am giving my chickens too many 'treats'. They are only getting garden leftovers and kitchen scraps (only fresh fruits and veggies - no onions or garlic or cake! [​IMG]). Somedays they get A LOT! I have 8 pullets,1 rooster, and one recent graduate to HEN! (one teeny brown egg every day for the last 5 days except today). 5 of them are 19wks and 5 are 20wks (I believe they are all "regular-sized" birds) that I have raised since they were 1 and 2 weeks old respectively. They have Layer Crumbles in one large hanging feeder that lasts about 2.5 days and free range crushed oyster shell. The one egg I get has a nice uniform hard shell. I was fine with tossing all the stuff in the pen until I read on here it wasn't good to give a lot of treats. So my question is... How do you know if it is "too much"?[​IMG] Sorry if I rambled on.... Thank you in advance for all of your help!
     
  2. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've read that treats should be no more than 10% of their diet. Seems like a stupid answer to me though, what is 10% of a daily diet (eye roll) Welcome to the site!
     
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  3. farmgirl06

    farmgirl06 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 9, 2013
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    Thanks for the reply... I was wondering if there is some 'visible' way to know. They seem to still be eating their feed steadily. They are quite happy, they look healthy and they are a hoot to watch when they know there are treats involved! The difficulty would be in knowing who is eating what... with 10 chickens coming from all directions into a 'dog-pile' it is impossible to see who is eating how much of what to even measure 10%! Lol..

    (an example would be today when we had company and my chickens ended up with a watermelon rind, a cantaloupe rind & seeds, about 8 medium cucumbers and 2 small yellow squash from the garden, enough celery to equal about 6 stalks and 2 apples that fell from the tree.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013
  4. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been feeding my flock kitchen scraps for about 4wks. Mine do not free range so I really can control what they are eating. They seem to stop whenever they want to when it comes to treats and still manage to empty their 3lb feed dish almost every single day. This afternoon and I gave them a small bag of frozen watermelon, maybe a 1/3 a bag of frozen blue berries. They got a small handful of cherries, a few large pieces of lettuce, one carrot peel, maybe some celery pieces. Then I diced up a medium/large watermelon (left a little on the rind) and gave them that about an hour before bed. They didn't touch it.

    I think it should be kinda easy to watch though, if you notice they aren't eating their feed as much then cut back on the treats. If mine don't ease up on the feed I'm going to start feeding them more treats lol I can't believe how much my crazy hormonal teenage chicks are eating
     
  5. farmgirl06

    farmgirl06 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 9, 2013
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    How old? How many? Mine don't free range anymore. They were able to come and go as they please during the day until about 1 month ago when they found my strawberry patch. (which fortunately distracted them from our full blown garden only a few feet away! Hahaha..) But now they do have a nice sized run, if I do say so myself! [​IMG]. I don't remember how many gallons their feeder is but I can fill it 4 or 5 times from a regular bag of feed.

    Side note: I have noticed that my babies prefer mushy stuff.. like bananas, strawberries, tomatoes etc.. (except corn on the cob - that is their FAVORITE!) I recently acquired a juicer and they go ga-ga over the pulp left over in it! Have you found that to be true of your birds?
     
  6. buttercup95

    buttercup95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have some that get just about everything. Mine especially love peaches and softer fruits also. I haven't given them fresh corn yet, but I have 13 all about 2 months old. I'm going to pick some corn up tomorrow and see how they react when offered a corn versus a peach. (their current favorite)
     
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    [​IMG] In some cases, I think when they have too many treats they don't eat enough of their nutritionally(?) balanced feed. It sounds like you give them a regular buffet of treat items.

    8 cucumbers does sound excessive on top of everything else. I have heard that too much fruit will cut down on egg production, and corn is like crack to them and makes them fat.

    Personally I think there are too many treats - maybe cut back to just one particular treat a day and not enough to fill them up but, serve as an appetizer.
     
  8. farmgirl06

    farmgirl06 Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes.. they have been getting a regular buffet. I didn't see anything wrong with it because my husband said that is what his grandma fed her chickens and it would keep the feed bill down. Then I found this website and learned about all kinds of things Grandma shouldn't have done! Lol... I will cut down on their treats so they can be healthy. It's funny because when I got them it was just for the eggs... but they have such neat individual personalities that I just L*O*V*E them[​IMG]! I enjoy my time with them more than the cows, the cats or even the dogs (don't tell them![​IMG])!!
     
  9. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Greetings from Kansas, farmgirl06, and [​IMG]! Great to have you with us! That's a great question. I guess I've always just made sure they had a full supply of their regular ration and when giving treats, always left them wanting more. Good luck to you!
     
  10. farmgirl06

    farmgirl06 Out Of The Brooder

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    Just an update: This morning I took out their new 'diet plate' of treats and they looked at me as if I'd gone mad! They clucked and circled and waited for the second round that never came. Finally they decided there wasn't going to be more so they devoured it in what seemed like 5 seconds! (Today it was just the pulp from our juicer -1 apple, 2 celery and 2 cucumbers, and 2 small soft zucchini) I don't think they are happy I found this website! Lol..

    On a side note: I had already collected my lone egg for the day (out of NINE girls!) and was headed back from watering the cows when Lo' and Behold I had TWO hens sitting in the nest boxes!!!! I do not know if they were getting down to business or just playing house, but it is good to know they are catching on![​IMG]
     

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