At Backyard Poultry, we love to tackle common reader questions, such as: “why have my chickens stopped laying” or “why are my chickens laying soft eggs.” With our popular Chickens in a Minute video series, we’ve created quick, informative videos to answer your common queries in an entertaining way. This video answers the question: “what can chickens eat as a treat?” This is important because what our backyard chickens eat eventually comes back to us through their eggs and meat. The healthier they are, the healthier the foods we eat.
Today’s complete feeds, including organic chicken feeds, contain almost everything our birds need to be healthy and productive. But, most backyard birds do receive treats, because to tell the truth, it’s fun for the owners! Just don’t overdo it. Excessive snacks are dangerous because our birds can fill up on them.
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Healthy Snack Options
- crickets and mealworms
- fruits and greens
- sweet potatoes
- unsalted seeds
- vegetables – raw, steamed or cooked
- scratch grains (The ultimate winter treat!)
Creative ways to give treats include hanging a cabbage from the coop ceiling and stuffing goodies into hanging suet baskets.
Can chickens eat corn? Yes. Some other treat ideas include cooking eggs for chickens, growing a garden with treat plants for your chickens and raising red worms as a treat. On hot summer days, blueberry mint ice cubes can help keep your chickens cool.
A great supplement is to feed your chickens their own shells. Save the used shells, clean and microwave them for a few seconds. When they’re crispy, break them up and mix them with their feed. You can also add more calcium into your flock’s diet by purchasing a commercial feed with added calcium. Learn how you can have strong eggshells with the new Purina® Oyster Strong™ System.
Always keep a fresh supply of water on hand.
And, remember, while we think treats are important for taste. Chickens only have 24 taste buds compared to our 10,000. But, treats can be valuable tools for training, relieving boredom and even health.
These videos are a great reference for both new and experienced chicken owners alike. So feel free to bookmark them and share! And look for more Chickens In A Minute videos in the coming weeks.
Originally published in 2015 and regularly vetted for accuracy.