"Treats" that your birds don't like

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by JoeInPA, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. JoeInPA

    JoeInPA Songster

    Aug 25, 2019
    Western Pennsylvania
    Hi everyone,

    I have been trying to narrow down some good treats I can feed to my two older birds (the younger ones are still a little too young for me to be comfortable giving treats) to help them develop some trust in me. I've tried several things so far and while they don't seems to be picky, they don't seem exactly enthusiastic about anything either.

    Within their run environment, they enjoy picking at grass and eating bugs. The rooster chases flies and mosquitoes and eats them out of the air! The hen prefers to pull bugs from the ground, she gets earthworms, crickets and other bugs. I found a giant grasshopper on the roof of my car one day so I got a piece of duct tape and caught the grasshopper on it, and fed it to the rooster (the grasshopper, not the tape, lol). He ran around with it in his mouth while the hen chased him for a chance to eat it.

    So far of the snacks I've given them, bread is their favorite. American cheese is a close second. They also like rolled oats.They will eat scrambled egg, but they won't lick the plate clean. Inspired by the hen catching earthworms, I went to the gas station and bought some bait worms. The chickens were completely uninterested in them.

    They refused to touch quinoa.
    They didn't like dry dog food.
    They weren't fans of carrots.
    I cut up a hot dog and they had one taste and didn't like it.

    What are some easy "all birds like this" type treats? And conversely, what are some that they are unlikely to eat? My uncle used to have chickens and said his birds loved any salmon scraps.

    Also I've been trying these treats out over the course of a week or two, and in very small portions, so as not to interrupt their regular diet of chick feed.
  2. DiYMama540

    DiYMama540 Crowing

    Jun 25, 2019
    SW VA
    My Coop
    All the members of my flock go nuts for mealworms...never fails!
    My birds are actually pretty picky...they usually taste anything we toss to them, but there are very few things I would classify as favorites.
  3. townchicks

    townchicks Free Ranging

    Dec 1, 2016
    Contra Costa county, Ca.
    Well, you know, they're all individuals, so there is always exceptions. Mine go nuts for mealworms (dried) salmon cat food (canned) cut up chicken liver (feeding frenzy with that). They like romaine lettuce, watermelon, cantaloupe, live crickets from the pet store. They are not fans of pumpkin or zucchini so far, anyway. Scratch as a treat once in a while.
  4. chrissynemetz

    chrissynemetz Crossing the Road

    Dec 19, 2013
    Olathe Colorado
    My chickens are pigs... they'll eat absolutely anything I throw out to them. :drool
  5. hysop

    hysop Chirping

    Sep 16, 2019
    Some like strawberries, others don’t.

    Bananas yup.

    Watermelon definitely.

    Leftover food that’s not moldy.


    Pretty much anything. If one flock doesn’t eat it, the others will. Or my dog lol My dog will purposely eat something he normally doesn’t eat just because the chickens are interested.
  6. MissMarple

    MissMarple Songster

    Aug 3, 2019
    Mine are weird, I think. They're not huge fans of mealworms but go NUTS over corn, fresh and the dried stuff in like Flock Party mixes and such. Mine hate watermelon and love to eat the middle of cucumbers but leave half of the flesh and refuse the skin. They do, however, love any kind of seeds and they will literally fight over a blade of grass. :th Grapes, yogurt and blueberries are a big hit with my flock. They don't like strawberries by themselves but go wild for strawberries if you put them in yogurt. Right now we're trying to beat the heat so I'm freezing most everything and making them treats in ice cube trays. I cut up grapes into small-ish pieces so there are more pieces and less fighting over a whole grape, add a dollop of yogurt and some water and freeze it. Or cut up pieces of cucumbers, raspberries, blueberries and do the same dollop of yogurt plus water and freeze. They love bread and not a single one refuses popcorn. And if anyone can find themselves a worm or ten, they're eating it. My cornishes were the best worm hunters when they were just a few weeks old.
    AstraChick, Chickassan, sorce and 4 others like this.
  7. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    The only treats my birds don't like are the ones not in their mouths yet.
    I have one single hen that wont eat superworms, and that is the full extent of the food snobbery out there.
    Messed up thing, that hen ate garbage and cat food before she came here and refined her pallet to not let a treat that starts fights here nearly every time I put it out not to pass her highly cultured little trash eating beak.
    The hen's name is literally Hobo. :gig

  8. N F C

    N F C Champion

    Dec 12, 2013
    My flock likes dried mealworms, blueberries, grapes and scrambled eggs (I make them without salt, pepper, or butter).

    They won't touch strawberries or cabbage.
    AstraChick, AeA19, MissMarple and 3 others like this.
  9. sorce

    sorce Chirping

    Aug 26, 2019
    My Dog never liked treats, the chickens are almost the same.

    My two 2Month old GLW's wouldn't eat watermelon until I hung it up. Now they'll eat it on the ground too.

    Not wild strawberry at first, now they eat em.
    One prefers worms, one prefers slugs, sometimes they won't eat them.

    Crickets and Grasshoppers start fights.

    They find more spiders than I'd imagine existed!

  10. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

    Nov 12, 2017
    Western Ohio
    Cabbage and Brussels sprouts. My quail and my chickens all love these two items! My Brussels sprout plants I uprooted and threw stalk with leaves and some sprouts attached to the girls a few times last year and this year...they gather around and eat it clean to the stalk. My neighbor has a treat ball cage, and he hangs it with a head of cabbage for his girls. It takes them 2-3 days to get through one head (9 chickens).

    Beet and turnip leaves. They jump the fence to eat these specifically. I can throw them in the run and they enjoy this quite a bit.

    A non-food treat is an awesome dust bath area. Anything that makes a nice light dirt area they love: wood ash, sawdust, peat moss, sand in any combination mixed in (or piled on top of) the run ground will provide much interest and enjoyment too.

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