Chickens are a huge investment, and their feed can cost up to 75% of your monthly expense. Nevertheless, we do get attached to these lovely creatures and often want to gift them with a special treat that’s still healthy.
What not to feed your chickens
Chickens can be “peck”y eaters, but there are also specific foods you shouldn’t feed them as it can affect their eggs or even their health. For example, stay clear from onions, garlic, and rotten or moldy fruits and vegetables as these will more often than not affect the quality and taste of your eggs and could possibly make your chickens sick. Other items not to feed your chickens include chocolate, food from your table, vinegar or foods brined or pickled in vinegar, or seeded fruits.
10 healthy treats to give your chickens
Remember, like humans, treats should be given in moderation as they can increase the weight of your chickens and overall keep them from living a healthy lifestyle while in your care and laying eggs. You can choose to feed your chickens a treat by hand to see them get excited in person, or it’s a perfect idea to add it to your Grandpas Feeder with your regular feed so your chickens can get a happy surprise while feeding themselves.
Here are ten healthy treats that can be found in your backyard, online, or at your regular feed supply store:
Your house is surrounded by it, and it’s a great source of protein and other healthy nutrients. Even letting your chickens roam for a bit in the yard can offer them a yummy treat.
- Leafy Greens
Like grass, leafy greens are another excellent source of protein to ensure those eggs are nice and healthy! Kale and spinach especially are packed full of Vitamin A, and C and broccoli is a great source of Vitamin B.
Cabbage is full of fiber, which is great for your chickens’ digestive health, which is just as important as our own! It can be cooked or fresh, but remember no vinegar so keep that sauerkraut in the fridge and away from your chickens.
You might not want them in your yard, but your chickens will love a great dandelion treat. They’re full of much-needed fiber as well as calcium, which is key for your laying hens.
- Squash, as well as other melons and pumpkins too
Great sources of Iron and Magnesium for your chickens, and it’s so entertaining to watch them go crazy when you throw a whole pumpkin in for them.
Full of vitamins, A, B Complex, and C, berries are an excellent multi-vitamin source for your chickens. You can even plant them in and around your chicken run to give them shade and a nice place to stop for a snack.
- Oatmeal is a great place to mix your treats that your chickens will love. It will also help keep them warm in the winter.
- Mealworms provide a great deal of protein and are also high in fat and carbohydrates, which will keep your chickens healthy as they grow.
- Hemp Seed is an excellent source of iron, protein, omega-3, omega-6, and so many other essential nutrients that will give your chickens a tasty snack as well as keep them healthy.
Like other leafy greens and dandelions, weeds such as chickweed and clove and great sources of protein and other nutrients.
Interested in learning more about how you can incorporate these treats into your Grandpa’s Feeder? Reach out for a conversation today.