Treats for chickens?

Jesseanne

In the Brooder
9 Years
May 17, 2010
29
1
22
Pensacola
My chickens really enjoy treats and run to greet me everytime I leave the house in hopes that I am bringing them something good. How often should a treat be given? My chickens always have feed available in their coop and they free range on grass, bugs and sometimes little frogs. I sometimes give them treats 2 or 3 times a day and am wondering if I am adversely affecting their nutrition. They especially love shredded cheese. Is this OK to give them? What do your chickens enjoy the most?
 

MissJenny

Songster
10 Years
May 11, 2009
974
7
141
Cincinnati, Ohio
I was at a seminar last month regarding chicken nutrition. One of the most valuable pieces of information I came away with is that the chickens diet should consist of not more than 10% treats. I guess they are kind of like little kids in that they will eat junk morning noon and night given the opportunity.

For my chickens I've tried several fruits and vegetables and even worms. They do LOVE worms... which can lead to gape worm I won't be contributing any more of those -- if they find them on their own, so be it. Otherwise, the only treat my chicks are wild about are grapes. They aren't interested in peas, beans, tomatoes, corn or strawberries. Every couple of days I chop up about a cup of grapes for them and they tickled down to their toes!

One thing I haven't yet tried is bread -- supposedly they like bread. We'll see.
 

digitS'

Songster
12 Years
Dec 12, 2007
2,119
23
201
ID/WA border
I can hardly imagine a better treat than cheese. It may be a little too salty but need not be.

At one time, I had an abundance of milk and daily turned it into a simple cheese for the chickens. They did a very good job of turning that cheese into eggs.

Chickens certainly can become spoiled pests but they can also learn to behave in ways that make life easier for their keepers/backyard neighbors. My chickens are not let out before afternoon. You would hardly know that you are in a backyard with chickens thru the morning, unless there is an egg song going on (or a "someone is in MY nest" song
).

Mid afternoon comes and it is a different story - they expect to be allowed out with every "sighting"
of me.

I give them treats to get them back into the coop in the evening. They always get a treat and they are happy to return to the coop. In the winter, I show up a couple of times in the late afternoon because it is dark out with only the light on in their coop, and because treats in cold weather make more sense.

If you don't think that we can adversely affect our pets' nutrition, you haven't been counting the overweight dogs and cats in your neighborhood. And, not only are we interested in having healthy birds and good-looking lawn ornaments, but we are also expecting some egg production from them.

They are like little kids . . . or, more like lazy adults
, perhaps. Anyway, they want easy calories and that's about the extent of their wants. I suppose that they are motivated by instincts to chase and eat a frog or peck around curiously on the ground but, they can really load up on food that isn't especially good for them. And, important to most of us, they can deprive themselves of the excess good nutrients, beyond their own needs, that they can use to make eggs.

Production hens have an important capacity for food. They can use extra nutritious food to make eggs or they can just get fat.

Steve
 

Jesseanne

In the Brooder
9 Years
May 17, 2010
29
1
22
Pensacola
Thank you for your responses, Miss Jenny and DigitS'. My husband kept telling me that I am giving them too many treats and I guess I am. It was good to hear something concrete like 10% of their diet can be treats. I might try keeping them in their coop longer in the morning. I've noticed that they eat way more grain if I leave them in a bit longer.
 

obxWaMi

Songster
10 Years
Sep 27, 2009
191
2
109
OBX, NC (Roanoke Island)
digitS' :

At one time, I had an abundance of milk and daily turned it into a simple cheese for the chickens. They did a very good job of turning that cheese into eggs.

Okay, share this recipe! I've made cottage cheese from skim milk and white vinegar. Is your cheese the same thing?​
 

gogoalie

Songster
9 Years
May 15, 2010
490
1
109
Alaska
I noticed that if you mix cornmeal with anything liquidy, like yogurt or other type stuff THEY GO CRAZY for it! & it's alot less messier!
 

ray2310

Songster
10 Years
Apr 4, 2009
227
3
119
Smithfield, PA
Marshmellows... The small ones you put in coco are my chickens new favorite treat. They go absolutely crazy for those things.
 

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