How much is too much in the "treat" department?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Marianne25, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. Marianne25

    Marianne25 Out Of The Brooder

    my flock is about 10 weeks old now. It's been so hot here that we (the people) have been eating lots of watermelon; I've been saving the rinds (with just a tiny bit of "pink" still on them) and the girls are loving them, eating them down to the skin! Also,every day or other day I've been filling one of those large suet feeders with greens from my garden (mostly lettuce and kale). Is this ok? I just read an article about giving too many "treats" but are watermelon and lettuce/greens actually "treats" or a healthy addition to their diet? I'm feeding commercial starter feed right now. That stays in their coop (they go in to eat whenever they're hungry). They have a large (10x20) run and are let out to free range in the yard beyond that at least once a day, so I know they're getting lots of bugs, weeds, etc.

    Thanks for any input!

  2. Ravynscroft

    Ravynscroft For the Love of Duck Premium Member

    Nov 30, 2014
    Middle Tennessee
    That should be just fine... treats is more like empty calories, like scratch or scraps...

    Watermelon is like 90% water, so no biggie, and in the heat that's a good thing... just don't be surprised if you get runny poops after they chow down... greens are good for them, those are healthy...

    Besides, if they're still eating plenty of their feed I'd say they're fine... :)
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    We keep them in so many different ways it’s hard to really generalize about how much is too much as far as treats go. If you were keeping them in a barren coop/run where all they eat is what you feed them, the general rule is that treats of any kind should not be more than 10% of their diet. That includes the good stuff. The basic idea is that their commercial feed contains the right balance of protein, fats, fiber, carbohydrates, minerals, amino acids, all the different stuff for a balanced diet. If you feed them too much other stuff, especially if you feed them the same treat every day and don’t mix it up, they may not be getting enough of something they need.

    But you are not doing that. You let them out to free range. That means you have lost all control over their diet and can no longer micromanage what they eat. They are going to do a lot of balancing themselves with their foraging. Don’t get ridiculous about how much you feed them of any one thing for days on end, but I don’t see any problems with what you are doing.

    Mine forage all day every day. They usually ignore greens from my garden. I toss them cabbage, kale, stuff like that and they don’t eat it. They do occasionally eat chard. But toss in a ripe tomato, red pepper, apples, carrot peels, and some stuff like that and they go crazy for it. Each flock will be different.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Silvey17

    Silvey17 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 25, 2014
    Sometimes treats can interfere with your chickens' regular feed intake. If you feed them treats you should do it in the afternoon, which works out for you because that's the hottest part of the day.

    I feed my chickens treats in the late afternoon when I come home. I give them watermelon, grass, harvest delight, and leftovers from meals. I let my chickens free range all the time in my yard.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by