9 Healthy Treats Your Chickens Will Love

9 Healthy Treats Your Chickens Will Love

We all love to spoil our chickens with treats every now and then.

Giving treats to your chickens helps to give their diet some variation. It also helps to keep them happy and laying eggs.

If you’re not careful buying treats for your chickens can cost lots of money, that’s why most of our treats are normally kitchen scraps and left overs… In fact, 75% of the cost of keeping chickens is made up of chicken feed.

With that being said, I still love to spoil our chickens and they get more than their fair share of treats!

Let’s take a look at our girls’ top 9 favourite healthy treats.

Oatmeal

Banana Nut Oatmeal with HoneyOatmeal is one of our girls’ favourite treats and it’s probably their favourite treat during the cold winter months.

Picture the scene: its 6:30am, pitch-black, and there is a thick frost on the ground.

I let our girls out of their coop and straight away they can smell the oatmeal. I just pour the oatmeal straight out into their trough- I’ve found in the past they can bully each other if I just put the pan down because they can’t all get to it at once.

You can also add either maple syrup or bananas to the oatmeal to help give it some variety.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage CheeseThere’s something about cottage cheese that our chickens just love. Maybe it’s the cheese taste or maybe it’s just the consistency?

Either way, they love it!

You can give your chickens cottage cheese straight out of the tub or you can mix it with vegetables. Both carrots and broccoli go really well with it.

It provides your chickens with several essential nutrients such as calcium which helps keep their bones strong. It’s also a great source of protein as laying chickens need around 20 grams of protein a day to produce an egg.

Pasta and Noodles

Pasta and Noodles Chicken TreatsHave you ever seen free range chickens running around the garden with streams of pasta flowing out of their beak!?

Cooked pasta can be a cheap but filling treat for your chickens. Two cups of pasta is more than enough for a flock of six chickens.

Again, like with cottage cheese you can mix other food into the pasta. A nice creamy sauce or chopped up vegetables can go a long way to keeping your chickens happy.

However, they will be perfectly happy with just dry pasta.

If you are going to feed your chicken pasta, just make sure to cook it beforehand! I’m not sure they would appreciate hard, crunchy, raw pasta…

Mealworms

Mealworms are without a doubt our chickens’ favourite treat of all time.

They are a very quick and easy treat to give your chickens and require no preparation.

I just buy a 1lb bag of them and dump them into a pile inside our girls’ pen. It’s very entertaining to watch the chickens run back and forth with the mealworms in their mouth.

You can normally buy them from your local fishing/tackle store but they can be quite expensive- $20USD for 1lb. If you give your chickens mealworms regularly it might be worth considering farming your own mealworms.

Corn

Feeding Chickens Sweetcorn

You can either feed sweetcorn to them loose, mix it in with their pellets, or you can feed it to them straight from the cob.

Here’s a great idea if you want to keep your girls busy. Buy several corn on the cobs and hang the cobs using some string. You can then let the girls peck away at them- this should keep them amused for several hours.

Not only is sweetcorn a cheap treat, it’s packed with lutein and zeaxanthin which are phytochemicals that help keep your chickens vision healthy. It will also provide your girls with some much needed fiber.

Ginger

Ginger Chicken Superfood

We’ve already written about the superfood ginger and some of the health benefits your chickens will experience when eating ginger. Certain studies claim that feeding chickens ginger can increase the size of the eggs and also improve the amount of antioxidants in the egg yolk.

I tend to only use ginger when our chickens moult as it can help them grow back their feathers quicker.

If you are going to feed your chickens ginger you can either mix ginger powder in with their pellets or you can mix it in with their water.

However, make sure you only give your chickens ginger no more than once per month. Feeding your chickens too much ginger can cause muscle swelling and occasionally death.

Watermelon

Watermelon Cubes For Chickens

Watermelon is the perfect summer snack for chickens.

Not only is it full of water and extremely refreshing for them, it also contains lots of essential vitamins and minerals.

I buy watermelon cheap when it’s in season and slice them up into small chunks. I then take the small chunks and freeze them.

During a hot summers day I get the frozen chunks out and place them into the chickens’ water bowl. This helps keep the water cool and the chickens can also peck at the watermelon.

You could also, mix the frozen watermelon in with plain greek yogurt. This helps spread the watermelon out and greek yogurt is also very refreshing for them.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin Chicken Snack

Pumpkins are another one of those refreshing treats with added health benefits.

The seeds inside pumpkins help with worming. According to Delaware State University pumpkin seeds “contain a deworming compound called cucurbitacin which has been used to expel tapeworms”.

Pumpkin can be very hard to cut, so I just put the pumpkin inside our chicken pen and then hit it with a mallet to break it open for the girls.

Your girls will be entertained for hours as they merrily peck away. You will notice they will eat the pumpkin in its entirety- bar the skin.

Another benefit I found was that their egg yolks turned vibrant orange for a few days after they’d eaten the pumpkin.

Scrambled Egg

Scrambled Egg Chicken Treat

Sometimes during the peak of summer, our girls can get carried away and lay too many eggs for us to cope with!

I could store the eggs or freeze them to use later, but instead I prefer to cook several of them and make scrambled eggs for the girls.

Scrambled egg is full of protein and can quickly fill your girl’s up.

Note: Always make sure you cook any eggs which you feed your chickens. You DON’T want your chickens getting a taste for raw eggs because they will start eating their own eggs.

One important point to make here is that you shouldn’t give your chickens too many treats as this can actually cause your chickens to stop laying eggs. Just make sure that their treats are part of a consistent and varied diet and your chickens will be fine.

Let us know which treats your chickens love to snack on in the comments below!



Comments

    • J.b.Barnvelter says

      Thanks for the tips. I read all and put to our routine and it has really helped my girls. Taste of my eggs are like Bam!!! Taste so good make your cook happy and Homemade cakes yummy!!!!! Straight from the Barn and Richest Farmer. Don’t sell our girls and is not an advertisement. We love our pets!!!!! Man’s best friend!!!!!!

    • Chloe says

      My 3 silkie hens love black pudding, they get one between them in the morning aswell as their sausages bacon

  1. jimmy says

    My chickens like ants and meal worms. The hens catch them on their own in the yard, it keeps me entertained.

  2. SGIOVETTI says

    How often do you give your chickens treats? we usually have scraps of veggies and fruits from our meals (ends of cucumbers and carrots… outer leaves on a head of lettuce, and other various veggies/ fruit scraps). I wasn’t sure how often it was ok to give them these along with some of the other treats listed above.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hello,

      It tends to be at least once a day!

      Yes this is perfect for the girls, they will love it. You can give them this sort of thing each day, just place it down on the floor for them to peck at.

      Claire

  3. Frances Rayner says

    Hi, I have 2 hen chickens (Hybred Rhode Island Red) from hatchlings which are now 10 wks old, I started them off with the crumb mixture until they were 7wks old then switched to grower pellets as they are getting big. unfortunately they don’t seem to like it, and will only eat a very small amount. I let them free range for most of the day and I do give them a couple of handful of live mealworms in late afternoon and they eat them so quickly, it’s like they are starving. (Now I’ve just read on line that I shouldn’t let them eat them on regular basis as it could cause them harm) but I worry they are not getting enough food. They will not eat any other food ie veg, fruit, scraps and pasta etc which they are supposed to like. I’m running out of ideas what to give them. Also in the coop they sleep in the nest box instead of the perch, is that normal? Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Frances,

      It doesn’t sound like anything to worry about yet- they are still very young and they don’t have any older hens to ‘show them the ropes’…

      With the grower pellets have you tried crushing them up into smaller pieces?

      Claire

  4. Annie says

    Broccoli – hang a piece on a string. Good exercise for the ladies and often hilariously funny to watch!

  5. Ellen says

    I give my girls kale and other greens from the garden. They love the greens so much that they come running whenever I come outside.

  6. Tera says

    Salmon!!! Our girls have quite the variety of snacks… But one evening eating dinner outside they came up to me very interested in what was on my plate- gave them a little bit (made sure there was zero bones) gone instantly! We’ve got 8- 2 of each RIR, Wellsummer, Deleware and Americana! They all enjoy it equally! So much so we have a call into the fish departmebt if our local store for day end sale salmon- I’d rather buy it for 80% + off than have them toss it (legally they have too) I cook it up and the girls are set! Friends that go salmon fishing keep the scrap pieces for us as well! Who would’ve thought?! Haha!

  7. Moe Jajko says

    My 3 hens absolutely love cucumbers. Especially the seeds. I grew three plants this summer and had more cucumbers than I could use/giveaway. I started feeding them the cucumbers and they went crazy over the seeds. Sometimes a cucumber will get lost in the leaves and end up becoming monstrous, LOL. Those ones are especially great to give to my girls, as the seeds are bigger and more plentiful. It is such a nice treat for them as they are chilled in the refrigerator so it cools them off in the summer heat, and I can tell that it really helps with their digestion. Not to be gross, but their poops just look healthier now.

  8. Barb says

    Every morning my 3 year old has to go in the fridge to get treats for her hens. She’ll pick out the fruits and veggies she thinks they will like for that day. So far cherries and corn on the cob are the definite favorites!!

  9. Jacki Paddock says

    My girls LOVE worms from my compost! I don’t know if worms are OK but they sure love them! When they see me they run over to the compost bin and just wait .

  10. Rosanna says

    What age can you start giving them treats? We just got 5 baby chicks and this will be my first time raising chickens! I am so excited to be getting fresh eggs and just the experience of raising such a beautiful animal. I am trying to do everything right, as I don’t want to harm or lose any of them. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated for this first time “mother hen”!

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Rosanna,

      First of all, good luck on your chicken journey!

      I would wait until they are around 20 weeks old until you start with the treats 🙂

      Claire

  11. Siquala says

    My Leghorns, and especially my Chanteclers, just LOVE spaghetti squash…they devour it with enthusiasm like they were piranha, or bees to honey…zucchini is another favourite but not as much as the squash

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Siquala,

      I haven’t tried our girls with spaghetti squash before- I’m sure they will think it’s mealworms!

      Thank you for the tip,

      Claire

  12. Mick says

    Chickens also love mixed grain bread & strawberries.I disagree with the cottage cheese because it has too much salt & salt is not good for chickens

  13. Francesca says

    My poultry love anything dairy incl yoghurt, kefir etc – which I find so strange as it wouldn’t be in their natural diet. And they’ll follow me anywhere for bread. Also useful to have chooks in the food chain for when the cats turn up their noses at some food 😉

  14. Susan O'Keeffe says

    We nearly collapsed the other day, witnessing one of our hens, taking over from the cat and swallowing a pygmy shrew….. who knew!

  15. Miranda HR says

    I give mine watermelon pumpkin corn any green and tomatoes. They seem to like the tomatoes more than anything

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Alexis,

      Cottage cheese is fine, just make sure to avoid the high salt versions.

      You can feed them their own eggs to give them a healthy boost of protein 🙂

      Claire

  16. Gen says

    I have 2 RIR, 1 Buff, and 1 bantam Millie Fleur (I think that is what she is). The reds are “partners” and the other girls are “partners” too. I’m excited that our ordinance has changed and now will allow us to have 6 chickens so we will be adding to the family in the spring. The buff has gone through one molt and now is back to laying and funny that her “partner” the bantam started laying again just after she did.

    I often juice and will give them pulp from many fruits and veggies, avoiding anything stringy like celery. They love it!

    We recently moved and our fence is in need of repair and we can’t pour concrete with the cold so they are staying in their 8 x 8 run mostly, so I am looking for any suggestions for keeping them entertained and the corn on the cob sounds great. For the corn on the cob, do you cook the corn or just give it to them raw?

  17. James says

    Since chickens lack the enzyme to properly digest lactose, how much cottage cheese is too much? I prefer baked, crushed egg shell or oyster shell for supplemental calcium.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi James,

      To be honest with the cottage cheese they don’t get it too often and when they do it’s in small amounts 🙂

      I’m with you on the egg shells- great for calcium!

      Claire

  18. Jennifer says

    My chickens love most of the things already mentioned (especially pasta and scrambled eggs). I will just add that they also love blueberries. I will toss them out one by one and watch the girls run after them. It is a race to see who gets to each one first. very entertaining. I have given my girls raw oats and raw corn on the cob. I was interested to read that you cook them, Claire. I will try this next time. They probably would like the corn and oatmeal better cooked. Also, when I need to get them back in their run, I come out with a bag of shredded cheese. They come running. They love it.

  19. Angel Izquierdo says

    Thank you for all the information you laid in this forum! Very helpful for a beginner like myself.

  20. Deborah says

    I just became a chicken mom. I have 8, 2 each wyndottes, murans, freverolles, and Ameracanas. They get some kind if treat everyday. They get salad days, which includes frozen vegies ( corn, peas, beans, carrot) then I add chopped broccoli, cauliflower, lettus, red cabbage, and carrots. They love it. Then 2 days they get cooked oatmeal with chopped up strawberries, blueberries, Greek yogurt, and cinnamon. 2 days they get meal worms. Then day 7 whatever comes out of the fridge. They still eat all their regular food. They are not spoiled at all, as my husband rolls his eyes. They have their own herb garden, and flower garden, and once my garden takes off they will have tons of other things to choose from.

  21. Barb says

    Our chickens could care less when I give them freeze-dried mealworms, but throw in a couple of handful of popped popcorn (minus salt and butter, of course) and they go crazy!

  22. roger says

    Boil veggie skins until soft, let them cool and squeeze through your fingers to form a mash, keeps em going on cold winter days, you can add some meal to them as well.

  23. Clover says

    I have 5, 3 wk old chicks, a legbar, an easter egger, a blue splash maran, and 2 d’uccles. they go crazy over a little string cheese or a smear of Greek yogurt!!! So darn cute! Any ideas for other baby chick safe snacks?

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