Chicken treat ideas?

Snowy Celandine

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I’m always looking for new things to amuse my chickens. They are free range so they don’t really need treats or ‘enrichment activities’ but I just love to see their happy little chicken faces when they come running up to the door to see what I’ve got for them this time :D

They like cabbages, apples, corn on the cob, dried maize and chicken crack cocaine a.k.a. mealworms. Is there anything else I can try?
 

JillA

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Mine adore sunflower hearts, and those little suet pellets they sell for wild birds - you can get Hentastic ones - at about 3x the price. Plus the left over cat food! I must try peas though, although I'm not sure the freeloading slackers deserve any such thing, haven't had an egg in weeks. Chucking oyster shell grit at the atm
 

D66

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Mine adore sunflower hearts, and those little suet pellets they sell for wild birds - you can get Hentastic ones - at about 3x the price. Plus the left over cat food! I must try peas though, although I'm not sure the freeloading slackers deserve any such thing, haven't had an egg in weeks. Chucking oyster shell grit at the atm
Try mixing a teaspoon full of chicken spice and the same of wormer into a small tub of live yoghurt. They love it and will start laying a few days later. I had a small SS bowl intended for a parrot cage hung on the hen run netting to feed it to them.
 
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Just a general thing-beware of treats that are fattening, particularly in the summer if they can already free range.laying too much fat down internally can affect laying and interfere with a more balanced diet-plants, bugs, pellets are more than adequate in the summer-through moult and the winter mine get a bit extra.
 

Snowy Celandine

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Just a general thing-beware of treats that are fattening, particularly in the summer if they can already free range.laying too much fat down internally can affect laying and interfere with a more balanced diet-plants, bugs, pellets are more than adequate in the summer-through moult and the winter mine get a bit extra.
Thanks for the heads-up 😊
 

Keith_Beef

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I’m always looking for new things to amuse my chickens. They are free range so they don’t really need treats or ‘enrichment activities’ but I just love to see their happy little chicken faces when they come running up to the door to see what I’ve got for them this time :D

They like cabbages, apples, corn on the cob, dried maize and chicken crack cocaine a.k.a. mealworms. Is there anything else I can try?
Is it only about food, or are you thinking of other "stimulation"?

Maybe you could introduce a few snakes and lizards. Or a small cat?
 

Snowy Celandine

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Um, no, I love my chickens far too much to put them in harm’s way. They are great little characters and much more fun than my ducks or geese 😊 Here are (L to R) Bunty (aka The Boss), Mavis (the broody one) and Queenie (the pretty one). The others were off doing some gardening or something and didn't want to appear in the photo.

chickensinspring.jpg
 
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silv

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Um, no, I love my chickens far too much to put them in harm’s way. They are great little characters and much more fun than my ducks or geese 😊 Here are (L to R) Bunty (aka The Boss), Mavis (the broody one) and Queenie (the pretty one). The others were off doing some gardening or something and didn't want to appear in the photo.

View attachment 31424
They are lovely, hard to tell from the photo are they bantams? I did something last week I never thought would happen but took a selfie of myself with one of my hens! Totally a "mad chicken lady" There are quite a few good FB pages with lots of ideas for entertaining them. It is amazing how intelligent they are. My heart breaks for all the ones in battery farms.
 

Snowy Celandine

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Yes, they are bantams :) I can’t bear to think of the terrible lives of battery hens :( I’ve been cuddling Clarissa and Brenda in the sunshine today. I probably enjoyed it more than them but they put up with me because I might bring treats! I’ll have a look for some FB chicken groups, thanks!
 

Leo Walker

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Mine get whatever veg we have, brocoli and sweetcorn are both big hits, they get a lot of strawberry tops as well. We've just started defrosting frozen veg for them on the days we have nothing fresh in and the dont seem to mind. They get a bowl of veg every day, with layers mash and corn thrown down as scratch.

I brought a big slab of turf and loose soil home for them yesterday and they went mad for it. I think it was probably full of bugs and worms. They also get a big bowl of scrambled egg whenever we have too many eggs. About twice a week at the minute. They never seem to lose or gain weight, despite being the greediest creatures I have ever met!

I have cross bred naked necks, silkies, showgirls and seramas. I've been very naughty as well and let two of my broody hens sit on some eggs. I said I wasnt hatching this year, but someone kindly posted me some naked necks eggs so it would have been rude not!
 

silv

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When you watch chickens free range as mine do they must clock up quite a distance in a day, I wonder if anyone has ever done any research on it. I reckon that keeps their weight down.
 

JillA

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Mine still aren't laying :( I tried the yoghurt and wormer (and they hated it, even with left over cat food in it) and they now have wormer in their water (VermX). Any other ideas lovely hen people? If I didn't know better I would think they had a nest somewhere but there is nowhere in their run I haven't checked (sorry to hijack)
They are ex commercial and did lay HUGE eggs but they have only been here 12 months so shouldn't be at the end of their laying age
 
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VermX is not a wormer-get some flubenvet and do it properly-you can get it pre-mixed in layers pellets (Marriages do it but confine them and feed them it for 7 days so they get a proper dose). What are you feeding them on? A good quality layers pellet is best (D&H Smallholder range is a good one) its balanced and will give them what they need-including calcium.

Could anything be stealing the eggs? I have a bugger of a time with ravens but many corvids and stoats will take eggs-and rats of course. Do you have red mite?

as for fat, I didnt mean you'd have visibly fat hens running about, they lay fat down internally-can lead to egg peritonitis and prolapses.

ex-commercial-those hens were pushed hard laying wise for a year and then they lay for you pretty much for a year? They vary massively in how well they do after being commercial hens. For back garden hens the heritage and/or pure breeds are by far the longest lived and laying, I have 8 yos going strong but hybrids never do as well (bar one, who made it to 9). I have some Lohmans that I've had since PoL and I'd not bother with them again, there's far better garden hens about.
 
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Snowy Celandine

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Mine get whatever veg we have, brocoli and sweetcorn are both big hits, they get a lot of strawberry tops as well. We've just started defrosting frozen veg for them on the days we have nothing fresh in and the dont seem to mind. They get a bowl of veg every day, with layers mash and corn thrown down as scratch.

I brought a big slab of turf and loose soil home for them yesterday and they went mad for it. I think it was probably full of bugs and worms. They also get a big bowl of scrambled egg whenever we have too many eggs. About twice a week at the minute. They never seem to lose or gain weight, despite being the greediest creatures I have ever met!

I have cross bred naked necks, silkies, showgirls and seramas. I've been very naughty as well and let two of my broody hens sit on some eggs. I said I wasnt hatching this year, but someone kindly posted me some naked necks eggs so it would have been rude not!
Motherly Mavis is sitting on some eggs currently. They are also Pekins like her but we’re not sure what colours they’ll be because we asked our friend for a selection. Your chickens are amazing. They look so different with frizzled or silky feathers and even more so without so much feather don’t they?
 

Snowy Celandine

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When you watch chickens free range as mine do they must clock up quite a distance in a day, I wonder if anyone has ever done any research on it. I reckon that keeps their weight down.
Yes, mine wander all over the lawn and back garden. They’re rarely still :)
 

JillA

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VermX is not a wormer-get some flubenvet and do it properly-you can get it pre-mixed in layers pellets (Marriages do it but confine them and feed them it for 7 days so they get a proper dose). What are you feeding them on? A good quality layers pellet is best (D&H Smallholder range is a good one) its balanced and will give them what they need-including calcium.

Could anything be stealing the eggs? I have a bugger of a time with ravens but many corvids and stoats will take eggs-and rats of course. Do you have red mite?

as for fat, I didnt mean you'd have visibly fat hens running about, they lay fat down internally-can lead to egg peritonitis and prolapses.

ex-commercial-those hens were pushed hard laying wise for a year and then they lay for you pretty much for a year? They vary massively in how well they do after being commercial hens. For back garden hens the heritage and/or pure breeds are by far the longest lived and laying, I have 8 yos going strong but hybrids never do as well (bar one, who made it to 9). I have some Lohmans that I've had since PoL and I'd not bother with them again, there's far better garden hens about.
Thanks for that - they were out of Flubenvet at Wynnstay. They are all but free range and not keen on layers pellets, I got them some oyster shell grit because there was one I thought was without a shell in their bedding a couple of weeks ago. Their bedding has DE in it and it is an Eglu with wire mesh underneath (we did have rats prior to that) so no rats (apart from the one the yard cats despatched a few months ago). They go out into a decent sized run during the day, they aren't confined to the Eglu run. I'll get some Flubenvet this week when I go in. Maybe they are just all out of eggs - nice pets though
 
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have you tried different makes of pellets ? (sorry SC). I remember once trying the Lohmans on some organic pellets and they hated them! when you worm them with the pellets do not give them any additional treats-be strong ;) It may have been that they were used to mash or crumb.

I am surprised you aren't getting anything from them, even if its not daily.

I can't be bothered mixing in Flubenvet, I buy it in from here-they ring you to make sure you are getting it for the right species but do it in different sized bags if you only have a few hens

https://www.farmandpetplace.co.uk/p...ellets-with-flubenvet-poultry-wormer-5kg.html
 

druid

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Mine get all sorts - they are show chickens mostly, we do have the retiree pen who get out to free range the whole garden too.

Corn on the cob is a favourite - even leftovers from dinner! Natural yogurt mixed with egg food when they're moulting. Sprouted wheat is a hit in winter too. They love a head of cabbage or leftover lettuce and will merrily peck at a whole turnip.

Show pens get Pond fish pellets and suet pellets as treats. Retirees get kibbled corn (not the overpriced wheat sold as "mixed corn"!!).
 

JillA

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have you tried different makes of pellets ? (sorry SC). I remember once trying the Lohmans on some organic pellets and they hated them! when you worm them with the pellets do not give them any additional treats-be strong ;) It may have been that they were used to mash or crumb.

I am surprised you aren't getting anything from them, even if its not daily.

I can't be bothered mixing in Flubenvet, I buy it in from here-they ring you to make sure you are getting it for the right species but do it in different sized bags if you only have a few hens

https://www.farmandpetplace.co.uk/p...ellets-with-flubenvet-poultry-wormer-5kg.html
Thanks for that - I have ordered some, just hope it has a good long shelf life! Now to train them to eat layers pellets while we wait for delivery...................
 
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When I had chickens I used to hang a head of brocoli by some bailing twine in their run. They used to go mad for it and provided them with lots of stimulation.
 
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