Just like any pet, chickens deserve occasional treats too. They may not be as affectionate as your dog but they certainly help a lot in the backyard. The treats are not just given to make them happy, they serve a purpose too. Treats help in keeping your chooks healthy all year round.
In the winter, treats serve as a substitute source of nutrients for the plants they love to eat, which are hibernating and buried in snow. It keeps them preoccupied during winter, hydrated and cool in the summer.
Now there is plenty of chicken treats out there available for purchase, but your chooks can also eat certain types of human food. You can make the treats yourself by using ingredients already found in your kitchen. It’s a great way to make use of excess food (instead of throwing them in the trash) and save money!
If you are new to raising chickens or are looking for new ideas, this list will help. So keep scrolling and learn the different ways you can keep your chooks entertained and healthy with treats!
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Frozen Muffin Treats
For a quick and easy summer treat, put a little amount of corn kernel in each muffin cup and add water. Keep in the freezer for a couple of hours and that’s it! You can also do this idea using various ingredients. (See the list of foods chickens CAN and CANNOT eat below this page.)
You can farm your own mealworms. There are some articles and guides available online to learn how to do it. But if you want, you can simply buy packs of mealworm treats.
Pumpkin Seed Treats
Got some pumpkins? This idea is perfect during the Halloween season, especially if you or you know someone who carves pumpkins! Great way to save the seeds and scraps. 🙂 Simply make pumpkin chunks, blend the seeds into smaller pieces, and a little bit of water and organic feeds.
Peanut Butter Cakes
If you are into baking here’s a really good-looking recipe from Janice Cole that you can make! Just remember not to confuse this with the ones you made for the family because these peanut butter cakes are made of chicken feed and dried mealworms along with salt-free peanut butter, old-fashioned oats, raisins, dried cranberries. 😉
Now here’s something we highly recommend that you have if you’re raising chickens. By growing your own fodder system, you don’t have to worry about your livestock’s food at whatever time of the year it may be. It’s easy, low-maintenance and you definitely don’t need large cultivated land to do it. You can learn more about it here.
Bought too many vegetables for your next meal? Give it to your chooks as a treat! This vegetable garland idea will keep them from getting bored.
Another idea for the bakers out there! This recipe is proven to be a hit with the owner’s chickens. So the next time you bake oatmeal cookies for the kids, don’t forget to make this version for your chooks afterward.
Hanging Chicken Scratch Feeders
This idea is simple but perfect for the winter. It keeps the food off the snow and it’s an entertaining way for the chickens to eat their treat. 🙂 Here is the article for the hanging chicken scratch feeders if you are interested.
Now that you have several ideas on how to make fun and healthy treats for your chickens, how about getting inspiration from the list above to create a new kind of treat? Show your love to your backyard chickens by making your very own version! To further guide you, here’s a list of what chickens can and cannot eat…
What They Can Eat
asparagus, beans (must be cooked), beets, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, peas, pomegranate, popcorn (popped) potatoes (cooked, avoid peels), pumpkins, sprouts, squash, tomatoes, turnips (cooked)
apples (including seeds), bananas (without the peel), cherries, melons, peaches, raisins, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, seedless grapes
bread, grits (cooked), rice (cooked), oatmeal (raw or cooked), pasta (cooked), quinoa, sugar-free cereal (like Cheerios)
all cheese (including cottage cheese), plain yogurt
What You Should Avoid
- avocado skin and pit
- uncooked beans
- raw potato skins
Chickens can also eat meat, but some believe it makes them aggressive…
Now, remember, treats are called treats because they are supposed to be given occasionally and in moderation. They are NOT meant to replace regular feeds because doing so can cause health problems. It might also result in egg malformation and a decrease in egg production.