Infographic: What Chicken Treats Are Safe?

Provide your chickens a nutritional boost and build a lasting bond with this guide to chicken eats, treats and toxins.

by Dani Yokhna
PHOTO: iStock/Thinkstock

Let’s face it: The role of chickens on the farm dramatically changed in the 21st century. Instead of mere producers of eggs and meat, chickens—backyard chickens in particular—have become a part of the family. As such, we pay special attention to their diets. Simple grains aren’t enough for many of America’s backyard birds—oh no! We want to ensure that they get all of their needed nutrients and have a little fun, too, by supplementing their feed with nutritious treats.

Chickens diets can be supplemented in one of two ways. The first is by encouraging the normal chicken behavior of free-ranging. By allowing chickens to free-range your land, you give them access to protein-rich grubs and fibrous greens that encourage healthy feathers and eggs. Some farmers even allow their chickens to free-range their non-productive garden spaces as a chemical-free way of controlling pests. The other way to treat chickens is by providing them vegetables, fruits and other treats in or near their run, either by placing the snacks within reach or by growing them nearby.

When you start delving into the world of chicken treats, it can start to get confusing. Be sure that your chicken treats are just that: treats. Without careful attention to what your flock is consuming, you risk them becoming obese.Then make sure you’re not feeding them anything that could be toxic. The guide above, provided by The Grange Supply in Issaquah, Wash., will help you know which foods you can say yes to and which you should steer clear of. Print it off and hang it near the coop so you’re sure to never do your chickens wrong.

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