Yogurt everyday for young chickens too much calcium?


10 Years
Apr 30, 2009
Central Massachusetts
Since my chickens moved outside at around 3 weeks of age, ive started giving them some yogurt every morning, in addition to their free access to crumbles. I have four buff orpingtons, now 17 weeks, and I've always given them about 2-3 tablespoons (total, not per bird) at a time. they love it, and i've never had any troubles with sick birds. (they prefer strawberry or blueberry, not big fans of plain- but I always make sure to buy the regular variety, nothing "diet" with artificial sweeteners.)
My question- I know that switching them to Layer crumbles early isn't good because the increased calcium in a younger chick can be harmful. I'm probably thinking too much, but have I done them a disservice by giving them yogurt, which as a dairy product, contains calcium? Or is the amount of calcium in a few tablespoons of yogurt negligible?
Yes, they're pretty spoiled.
You think your girls are spoiled?

I make oatmeal for my 5 every morning then stir in about a tablespoon of plain yogurt for each pullet.
They love it so much they start eating from the bowl in my hands as soon as I open the coop door - they don't even bother getting down off the roost!

I am Poultry Room Service...and no tips...unless I count the eggs

I've been feeding this way since they were about 10wks old and so far all I've gotten was fat, healthy birds.
Laying, daily intake per hen: 3,750 mg calcium

yogurt: calcium, per 1 cup, 448 mg

Doesn't seem like much for a laying hen.

Let's see, a pre-lay pullet would need less than 20% of the calcium for a layer. That would be about 700 mg.

Weeellll, better not give your pullet 1 cup of yogurt each day with a full ration of her regular feed . . .

I would be more concern about the amount of sugar that is in store bought yogurt then the calcium amount. Look how many grams of sugar there are on the label. Most people never notice the sugar content in anything they buy. Yogurt is very high in sugar, especially the flavored or the fruit filled ones. Most yogurt has anywhere between 10 to 20 grams of sugar per serving of 8 oz. Also look how much sugar is in your 2% milk next time.
There are so many treats people can give to the chickens and I read time and time again they feed they yogurt. Because their chickens love it. They're chickens what do they know about nutrition? It is up to us to give them the right kinds of food. I here "Oh! I feed my chickens organic feed" but kill them off early with stuff that contains Sugar.
If you want to give them yogurt make it yourself or check out you neighborhood Health Food Store.

Just my thoughts on the subject. Not directed to the OP or any one else that has posted on this Topic.
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Four chickens get 2 tbsp. of yogurt? What is the question? What is the problem? Sorry, but Jeez, chickens scratch around in POOP... So, what exactly are you AFRAID might happen? Vitamin/mineral imbalance?????
I catch my self reading all the posts, and reading and rethinking all the things that I do for my gals because I just love them, I can't help it. It's like a new parent constantly reading "Dr. Spock". Then I talk to my grandmother, who reminds me, that as a girl she grew chickens and they ate what ever they could catch, they ate leftovers and corn. She got eggs and had fabulous fried chicken. So, the moral of this story is....I think too much. They have wonderful crumbles, they have grass and bugs. They have a coop that is a mansion compared to the shacks and sheds that I have seen some beautiful chickens in. So, whenever, I start questioning and worring about everything, I just relax and try to remember: No matter how much I really enjoy them, and actually love them, they are "chickens" and I am probably not going to do anything to awful by trying to do the best I can.
If you read my question completely, you'll see that my concern was the calcium in the yogurt- too much calcium isn't good for a pullet that hasn't started laying yet. Digits answered my question about the content. Yes, they scratch around in poop...? anyways.

I started giving them yogurt for "gut" health. I never got any poopy butts, so I think it did the trick. I know they don't really NEED it, but they enjoy it, and a few tablespoons across four birds doesn't seem harmful, even with the sugar content. They eat plenty of their crumbles, which is their main diet.

2DogsFarm- With the cooler weather coming, I've already started giving them warm oatmeal on cold mornings!! They love that as well. They're spoiled, yes, but they live a pretty boring life, being non-free range. (Better safe than hawk food or a dog chew toy.) If a bowl of something in the morning gives them a little excitement, who am I to deny that? I usually just make extra of what I'm having before work. They also eat out of a cat-shaped dish. Poetic irony?

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