Understanding Chicken Feed and Snacks: What to Feed and Avoid

Kiran Singh

Roses or rhubarbs – which of these is a tasty treat for your bird and which should get avoided? As someone who is planning to raise chickens in their backyard, this is probably one of the most important questions for you to answer. After all, if you want the flock to remain healthy and lay the perfect eggs, you need to understand their food habits and requirements. Given below is a brief account of all that chickens eat and avoid.

Understanding Chicken Feed and Snacks What to Feed and Avoid

What can the chickens eat?

Chickens will naturally avoid foods that they feel are harmful or bad for them. They are also natural foragers. So, there are several plants that chickens prefer as treats. Some of the green options you can consider are kale, lettuce, turnips greens, and chard. Darker, leafy greens lead to rich and darker yolks. You also need to look for good quality snacks for chickens. You can order online for quality snacks and also include blueberries, strawberries, and watermelon in moderation.

A couple of flock favourites include:

  • Perennials: Ferns, roses, daisies, and Daylilies
  • Herbs: Basil, thyme, cilantro, parsley, oregano, mint, and lavender
  • Vegetables: Cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, Swiss chard, kale, carrots, broccoli, beets, and lettuce

When the birds are free-ranging, they will look for their favorite plants to snack on those. Install a tunnel or fence in your yard to make them stay away from the other part of your garden.

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Things to avoid when feeding chickens

Avoid such treats that might leave an off-flavour in their eggs. Onions and garlic are two of the most common culprits that might affect the egg flavour. You need to avoid several foods as they have toxins to make the chickens ill or even turn fatal.

  • Avocado skins and pits are highly toxic to chickens because they have a toxin known as persin. Chickens can only have the flesh of the avocado.
  • Dried or undercooked beans might be harmful as they have a compound called hemagglutinin. It tends to inhibit the digestive capacity of the birds.
  • Rhubarb has anthraquinones that can contain a laxative impact. Rhubarb that gets damaged by extreme cold can also have a high dose of oxalic acid that might be fatal to chickens.
  • Rotten, mouldy foods and highly salty foods might lead to extra wet faeces and might be toxic.

Feeding the birds a complete and balanced diet is easy if you go by the 90/10 rule and remain mindful of the food the birds have access to. Begin with a complete feed and make sure not to over-treat the birds with goodies. While offering treats, select wholesome, healthy treats that are the perfect accessory to the birds’ diet.

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The bottom line

And that’s it! This was a brief outline of all that you can feed and avoid feeding your chicken. Hopefully, you have a clearer understanding of their food requirements now. Chickens are a delight to raise once you clearly know these finer details about them. So, follow them without fail from today!

*Do connect with me on Instagram at @KiranSinghUK for behind the scenes, daily updates, inspiration and more!

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