Why not spoil them?

Seaecho

Songster
Oct 12, 2017
662
671
196
High Desert, S. CA.
I was thinking about how so many people are super strict with how they feed their chickens. Just the pellet, or crumble, or mash, or whatever, rarely giving treats.. George Burns, Bob Hope, and a couple of others I can't think of the names right now, I will use as an example. George smoked constantly, and Bob Hope didn't eat right, yet both lived to be over 100! (My mother was at a banquet and Bob Hope was there, and she told me he didn't eat any of his veggies, lol) Now, if you feed a chicken treats every day in addition to the balanced food, will that cut its life short? Don't chickens deserve treats? Not all of us humans follow a strictly healthy diet. In fact, MOST of us will have desserts and/or treats at least a few times a week. Don't our chickens deserve the same pleasure?

There was a post from someone here just recently who fed her chicken scratch as the main diet, and there was a picture of it. It looked very healthy to me. I am the type who does feed a good balanced diet, but I also give a small amount of scratch and "Hen Treats" every day plus yogurt, different fruits, veggies, parrot seed, that baby food in the pouches mixed in, etc. It comes out to more than 10% of their diet. In fact, it's probably closer to 30%. I wonder what everyone's opinion is on giving your chickens a varied diet, with daily treats included. I also wonder if anyone has had chickens reach an old age with a diet that includes lots of treats.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
12,193
15,265
762
California's Redwood Coast
Of course genetics is ALWAYS a factor in longevity, regardless of what you feed.

No chickens don't DESERVE treats.... anymore than dogs do. WE like giving them treats... it's as much about how it makes us feel as it is about them. They are just doing what they were created to do. It isn't like they went a roofed my house or built a coop. :p

I'm a tightwad... no scratch EVER. You can still supplement good quality treats without going over board. Sometimes I like to ferment my ration as a treat. Or I even buy another type of chicken feed in pellet form and toss some. Make choices like peas instead of corn. And sprouting fodder. Since my birds are free range on pasture with berries, apples, grass and such... I don't count that stuff. Yes free ranging does make up to about 30% of the diet as far as I can tell, which does include bugs.

And with kids... they don't need to eat half the cake to be satisfied. They are happy with a small slice.

As far as I am concerned do what you want within reason... just because someones birds "looked healthy" doesn't make it true. I will put my stamina up against many who are "skinny and healthy" looking even though I look a little fluffy. When crud hits the fan if ya got nothing in the reserve tank then you are SOL. Absolutely we are what we eat... there is a reason why feeding higher protein gives better hatch results... cuz their is more nutrition going to the egg.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink. I can tell you a truth but I can't make you accept it. Chickens don't have fancy brains telling them that styrofoam won't meet their nutritional needs, It's up to us to make those choices.

For me... I do what I think is the RIGHT thing and that I feel good about. That does not include OVER treating my birds or my dogs or any other animal.

Yes, I WISH I could have the same conviction for myself! :oops: And I do most of the time. It's not about living forever... but having a body that is as comfortable as possible while making the journey...

Why do people dope it up, drink it up, or smoke it up, never eat a vegetable and still live a long time... Who knows... doesn't make me wanna go do it. :D
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
21,801
11,737
641
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
My birds get scratch grains for evening treats when I go out to collect eggs. I do add some sunflower seeds and some oats. They love it. It's not enough to make much of a matter because each bird gets probably less than a thimble. When they see me with the treat bucket they get very eggcited. I know my birds are healthy. They are tested by the state yearly and I show them at poultry shows. Some of the top breeders I know give some kind of treats. One fellow (who usually wins the best in show) gives his birds treats of sunflower seeds. I think it's personal preference, everyone is different.
 

BlackHackle

Gone away, will be back next month
Jun 1, 2018
3,593
12,422
887
Out North
My Coop
My Coop
I was thinking about how so many people are super strict with how they feed their chickens. Just the pellet, or crumble, or mash, or whatever, rarely giving treats.. George Burns, Bob Hope, and a couple of others I can't think of the names right now, I will use as an example. George smoked constantly, and Bob Hope didn't eat right, yet both lived to be over 100! (My mother was at a banquet and Bob Hope was there, and she told me he didn't eat any of his veggies, lol) Now, if you feed a chicken treats every day in addition to the balanced food, will that cut its life short? Don't chickens deserve treats? Not all of us humans follow a strictly healthy diet. In fact, MOST of us will have desserts and/or treats at least a few times a week. Don't our chickens deserve the same pleasure?

There was a post from someone here just recently who fed her chicken scratch as the main diet, and there was a picture of it. It looked very healthy to me. I am the type who does feed a good balanced diet, but I also give a small amount of scratch and "Hen Treats" every day plus yogurt, different fruits, veggies, parrot seed, that baby food in the pouches mixed in, etc. It comes out to more than 10% of their diet. In fact, it's probably closer to 30%. I wonder what everyone's opinion is on giving your chickens a varied diet, with daily treats included. I also wonder if anyone has had chickens reach an old age with a diet that includes lots of treats.
I don't think the chicken's diet has a big factor on how long it lives. Mind you, I breed chickens so they never are around longer than 2 years
 

Seaecho

Songster
Oct 12, 2017
662
671
196
High Desert, S. CA.
Thing is, I don't want to cut my chickens' lives short by giving what some would consider too many treats, but I know they love treats, and I don't want to deprive them of them either.

It cracks me up when parents don't allow their young kids to have sweets or foods that are too fatty, etc., and then when the child grows up it eats what it wants anyway! Then there are the plus sized owners (or even just a bit overweight) who don't treat their kids or animals at all, and yet, late at night they're raiding the fridge!
 

TLCMidMichigan

Chirping
Mar 13, 2018
52
82
83
I mainly use the crumbles as a main dish. Occasionally thrown in some watermelon rind that's generously left red. Lately I find discarded greens at a large grocery store that only a couple days old. Baby versions of all kinds of leafy stuff. Its very cheap and still decently fresh.

A friend of mine feeds his chickens every thing. Shredded cheese, watermelon, peas, some wax worms and lets them free range during the day. He hardly ever has used any crumbles or pellets to raise his chickens from chick to full grown. His chickens are Old English Game Bantam. They look good even at that.

To each his own if it works.
 
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