When Halloween is over, seeing your smiling jack-o-lantern tossed to the curb can be tough. Chickens, however, are happy to see your pumpkins thrown out, especially if they get to eat them. Pumpkins and other fruits and vegetables make fantastic, healthy chicken treats. Today, we are going to fill you in on the best things that you can toss in your chicken run instead of the trash.
Chickens love to have a diverse diet. The simplest way to give your chickens a healthy treat while also saving some cash is to give them some scraps.
Jack-o-Lantern Chicken Treats
Pumpkins are loaded with many vitamins and nutrients that your birds need, like vitamins A, B, and C, as well as zinc
The seeds and guts are fantastic to give to your birds as well. Some say pumpkin seeds can be used as a natural dewormer but not enough testing has been done to prove that claim.
Before dropping your jack-o-lanterns with your chickens, be sure to check for moldy or rotten parts. If the spots are small enough, you can usually cut those off. You should also break the pumpkins up instead of leaving the whole pumpkin on the ground, as your jack-o-lantern might end up curling in on itself. If that happens, your chickens won’t be able to eat the insides.
Chicken Safe Scraps
There are so many good treats for chickens. Just about anything that can grow in a garden, they love. Below are some great healthy chicken treats that you can safely give to your flock.
- Apples (Remove seeds from apples, as they contain cyanide)
- Peeled Bananas (not the peel)
- Cabbage (Try using a string to hang a head of cabbage in the chicken coop, around a chicken’s head level. This will give your chickens an entertaining game to go along with their healthy treat.)
- Corn (Chickens LOVE corn on the cob. Feed this to your chickens when it starts getting into late fall and winter to keep your flock warm, but don’t use it to replace their feed.)
- Dandelions (Don’t get the weed killer! Grab those dandelions and give them to your flock for healthy chicken treats.)
- Meat (You can give your flock the bones and they will pick them clean.)
- Nuts (Avoid giving your chickens salted, seasoned, and sugared nuts.)
- Rice (Regular rice can be eaten raw or cooked. Instant or minute rice should be cooked)
- Sweet Potatoes
For more healthy chicken treat ideas, check out Homestead and Survive’s 25 Homemade Healthy Treats for Chickens.
If you are ever worried about giving scraps to your chickens, just think, “Is this food good for me?” If the answer is, “YES,” the food is safe for your chickens too. Just make sure you are not letting this food replace your chickens’ feed. The feed to treat ratio should be around 9 to 1.
Chicken Treats to Beat the Heat
When summer comes back around, your chickens will love getting treats that cool them off. Ice cream and other dairy products shouldn’t be given to your chickens in very large amounts, so the following are a few chicken treat options that will keep your flock cool on hot summer days.
Frozen Berries: Mulberries, raspberries, blackberries; you name the berry, and I’ll show you some hungry chickens. Stick your berries in the freezer until they’re frozen, and you can toss a few handfuls to your backyard flock on hot days.
Minty Chicken Popsicles: Mint actually has natural cooling properties that act to lower body temperature (for chickens and humans!). Chop up some mint leaves, your chickens’ favorite fruit for veggie, and add individual servings into an ice cube or popsicle tray. Then, fill with water and freeze. Your chickens might be skeptical of this treat at first, but they will soon be pecking away and staying cool throughout the day.
Grapes: Grapes are probably the easiest way to keep your chickens cool during the summer. Simply pull them off the vine or grab some from the store and toss them in the chicken run. Your birds will love the sweet, cool taste, and you will love that you don’t have to go to the store for expensive chicken treats!
No matter how much I learn about chickens, there is always more to learn. If you have any interesting treats that your chickens love, let me know in the comments section.
You can continue learning more about backyard chickens by reading more posts in the Chick Days category. We have tons of information for new and experienced chicken/egg farmers, so check back with us for more fun chicken facts.