I have been sending out an appropriate chicken/duck treat outside link to every single person who gets our eggs for the past two years. I think it’s high time I make my own post about appropriate poultry treats!
Chickens and ducks are omnivores, meaning they eat meat and forage. While they free-range, this means they’re eating bugs (lots of bugs!) and weeds, grass, and all sorts of forage. Our birds’ favorite thing in the world is to root around in our horses’ manure piles to find yummy goodness in way of insects. It sounds gross, I know, but it’s truly a part of the cyclical nature of everything working together. I could go on and on, but we have a podcast for that. 😉 The important thing to note is that they are omnivores. When people give us recycled egg cartons with the claim “Vegetarian Fed Chickens” on it which to me means, those chickens are neglected because they’re not getting the full diet their body was designed to have or thrive on. Geese differ from ducks and chickens in that they are herbivores. They mostly eat grass and the occasional weeds.
Below is a list of perfectly healthy and good treats for chickens.
- Vegetables– most vegetables are perfectly safe with a few exceptions.
- Fruits– most fruits are perfectly safe with the exception of avocado pits. Watermelon on a hot summer’s day is highly sought after.
- Diary– they can have cheeses, it’s a good source of calcium in mild amounts. They love yogurt, and it’s rumored to actually help them lay more.
- Meat– cooked meats are safe for chickens and ducks, and you’d be amazed at how excited chickens get to eat… chicken.
- Eggs– yup, a fan favorite, but it’s best if they are cooked.
- Breads/Pastas/Grains– absolutely safe in moderation and must be cooked.
- Mealworms– if you happen by a feed store and see a bag of mealworms, your birds will love you forever.
- NO: moldy or rotten, processed food with too much sugar, food that’s too salty, chocolate, uncooked pasta/rice, onions, garlic, uncooked beans, uncooked sweet potatoes, or uncooked turnips.
There you have it. They can pretty much eat any real food. We give them most of our kitchen scraps even meat leftovers like ground beef and salmon. They are basically little walking compost bins, and when we mix their manure with their bedding (wood chips), we get the most amazing soil/compost for our gardens.