Too much "treats"???

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Tenneesse, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Tenneesse

    Tenneesse In the Brooder

    Nov 24, 2010
    Woodbury, Middle Tn
    I notice my birds would rather have treat or cracked corn, mackeral, meatloaf, BOSS, spaghetti and meatballs etc. than their layer mash. They are laying every other day or so but.... What sort of ration of treats should I be looking at for them. Its somewhat reached a point, though there is always mash at their disposal, I am favoring them with more delectable bites to eat than maybe they should be getting. How do you determine when its treats time or is it always treats time?

  2. sharol

    sharol Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    Admire, KS
    There must be something in the air. I got to thinking about this very issue this weekend. Also there was another thread about feather picking and the overfeeding of treats (not enough protein in diets) just this morning.

    I suppose chickens are like little kids. If they have candy, they won't eat their balanced dinner that you put on the table. In the summer my girls got garden produce because there was lots of it. Lately the treats have degenerated into scratch, BOSS, cottage cheese, rice, and spaghetti when there is some left over (not all at once), and my girls just aren't eating their layer pellets (they will eat the remaining crumble, but those pellets just sit there in the feeder).

    So, anyway, on Sunday I made them a warm mash of soaked layer pellets in the morning (it was very cold here, and I wanted them to have a warm breakfast). They dived into it like it was pure sugar. I think that I am going to use the soaked pellets for at least one treat each day. It will accomplish 2 things. It will use those hated pellets, and it will assure them a balanced diet. I'll still give them some scratch when they are free ranging up by the house, but mostly they will be getting layer mash. They just THINK it is a treat. [​IMG]
  3. Tenneesse

    Tenneesse In the Brooder

    Nov 24, 2010
    Woodbury, Middle Tn
    I will give that a try tomorrow morning. It's sure worth a try and that it was successful initially, maybe not every day possibly every other day will get them thinking its always a treat. My guy and gals sure love the canned mackeral and meatloaf or other meat treats but I haven't found a green they like and layer pellets are like telling little kids how good caster oil is good for them.[​IMG]
    thanks for the idea Tom
  4. firsthouse_mp

    firsthouse_mp Songster

    Dec 13, 2009
    I am going to do this too....heat the pellets with 1/2 warm milk and water then sprinkle some sprouted lentils and a dab of yogurt. That should be a GREAT protein more corn, etc for a few days. I need some eggs!

  5. fl_deb

    fl_deb Songster

    May 7, 2010
    I think you all are on to something here. I say this because with the cold weather I just couldn't resist fixing them some cream of wheat made with whole milk and adding their billed out but (not in poo yet) pellets as a warm mash and every day I've done this my girls have been 3/3 for eggs the next day.

    On the warmer days, I have been giving them more their greens, bread, and table scraps in general and they have 1/3 or 2/3 days of egg production the next day.

    I was also getting higher egg counts more consistantly when the girls were on the higher protein Gamebird diet, although I need to consider the weather here as well. So I will have to re evaluate in spring.

  6. HorizonSon

    HorizonSon Songster

    Oct 5, 2010
    Pacific NW
    A lot of it has to do with what the treats are.. If the treats are rich in proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals then I wouldn't be worried. A bigger concern could be in how one "prepares" the treats. Please, for the love of your chickens, don't use a microwave nor high heat when warming their treats; as this destroys the vitamins and alters the proteins.

    Happy clucking! [​IMG]
  7. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Quote:VERY good answer!

    You really have to consider - The layer feed your hens get is the same as if you ate "mineral & protein fortified" bread. Every day. Consider that all their feed is simply corn, soy, wheat, and added chemicals. It is very healthy and much better for them if you put some change in their diet at least once in their life. . . After eating all that "bread" you'd certainly be begging for something different. [​IMG]

    Cracked corn does no good though but add more fat - but things like greens, leftover dinner (long as it is healthy) BOSS, etc are really good for your chickens.

  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    I agree that it really depends on what the treats are that you're feeding them. You can give chickens junk, you can give them a nutritious food that's unbalanced, you can give them balanced meals or you can add supplemental nutrition, to compensate for what isn't in their base diet of layer feed.

    If you've learned enough about nutrition to have an idea of what is in particular foods and have a general idea of what a balanced, nutritious diet is for a person, I think that can help you when it comes to feeding chickens. If you are giving food to the chickens that has a nice mix of proteins, carbohydrates, just a little fat, vitamins and minerals, they can have more of it. If you are giving them food that's not balanced, then they should have less of it. Like people, not every meal needs perfect balance, but the diet as a whole should be balanced.

    Foods with the most health benefits for the chickens are non-soy protein, vegetables and dark leafy greens, a little fruit and maybe a few nuts or seeds. Those foods help compensate for what's not in their own feed. Starchy foods that are grain based add the least to their diet, because they are already consuming so many grains. I'm thinking in terms of supplemental nutrition here.

    If you just want to cut your feed bill or get rid of leftovers that you don't want to eat, they'll eat just about anything.

    I would keep oyster shells available, so they can balance their own calcium levels.
  9. firsthouse_mp

    firsthouse_mp Songster

    Dec 13, 2009
    Funny--I was cooking the crumbles with a bit of lentil sprouts, oats and son looked at the food and replied, "Eww, WHAT in the world are we having for dinner???!". He was thankful he had ribs and not this concoction! However, our hens greedily chowed down this eve when I went outside with it [​IMG] Obviously the hens think my son has no taste ![​IMG]

  10. maizey

    maizey Songster

    I think there IS something in the air... had the same thought this week too. I think its because of all the Christmas eating and baking ive done.. the girls have gotten A LOT of scraps. They got a whole loaf of panattone that didn't turn out quite like I like it, and several other left over baked goodies, plus lots of fruit and veggie trimmings. We are back on normal rations at my house so my chicks will be too. One high protein treat they get about once a week is a can of sardines (split between 3 pullets) and a carton of yogurt. I figure they should get all the veggie trimmings they can hold, in fact ive started sprouting for them and buying alfalfa pellets. I think, like us, its the simple carbs and fats you don't want to over feed but good solid proteins and greens should be offered pretty much as freely as crumbles/pellets.

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