Everyone loves to spoil their beloved pets with good food and treats. Of course, ex-commercial hen owners are no different. We love to spoil our hens with chicken treats and they love it when we offer them corn, watermelon and even scrambled egg! The list could be endless – but it shouldn’t be. As with all of us, sometimes too many treats can be a bad thing – it’s all about moderation.
The main thing to keep in mind is that chicken feed is specially formulated with a hen’s nutrition in mind. As soon as you give them treats or snacks, you are replacing that nutrition. The best way to treat your hens is to keep treats as healthy as possible but even excessive healthy treats can cause issues. These include obesity, reduced egg production, vent prolapse, feather-picking and increased risk of heart problems.
A simple guide to chicken treats
This simple guide will explain the best treats for your hens, and what to steer clear of. First things thing, it is important to remember that chicken treats should make up only a tiny part of your hens’ diet – no more than 5%. Obesity in hens can lead to some severe health problems which are not only stressful for her, but also for you.
If you live in a vegan household, kitchen scraps are fine for your girls in moderation. It’s good to get some healthy greens in her diet and they can be put up with fun feeders like boredom busters to make it exciting for your flock! Just be aware that if you are not in a vegan household, it is actually illegal to feed your hens kitchen scraps due to the risk of cross-contamination and disease. For more information on this, visit the APHA website.
One way of getting around this is to buy food specifically for your hens and take it straight into the garden when you get home, therefore bypassing the kitchen area.
Of course, if you are green fingered and have lots of fruit and veg growing in your back, it’s absolutely fine to pick these and give them straight to your hens.
Good quality treats like the Feathers & Beaky Superfood Probiotic Treat (shown below) are designed specifically for hens and are far more beneficial if fed correctly. Visit our online shop for a full range of chicken treats your girls will love.
Chicken treats available from our shop
Feathers & Beaky Superfood Probiotic Treat is a little pouch of goodness containing 100% natural health-boosting ingredients that your chickens will love. The tasty herbal pellets are packed full of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers to help improve the overall health & appearance of your flock – it’s delicious too, so your hens will love you come treat time!
This product contains:
- Garlic which has natural health-boosting properties which help improve gut health & respiratory function
- Echinacea naturally boosts the immune system and improves disease resistance
- Nettle improves the function of the pancreas, liver and stomach, whilst enhancing yolk colour and increasing shell strength
- Flax Seed Meal contains Omega 3 & 6, which are essential oils to improve feather condition
- Oregano naturally boosts the immune system and is a natural antibiotic
Botanical herbs and flowers have been used for many years to naturally treat ailments, and this mixture has been selected especially to boost the immune system and improve disease resistance amongst your flock.
There are many treats to avoid feeding to your hens due to their toxicity which could cause your hens to get ill or in some cases prove fatal. These treats include:
- Avocado pits and skins which are toxic to hens as they contain persin
- Undercooked or dried beans can be harmful as they contain hemagglutinin, which can inhibit the digestion of everything your hens eat
- Rhubarb contains anthraquinones, which can have a laxative effect in hens; rhubarb damaged by the severe frost can also contain a high concentration of oxalic acid, which can be fatal to hens
- Mouldy, rotten and very salty foods can also result in excessively wet faeces and may be toxic