6 Treats for Baby Chicks to Enjoy

Know Healthy Chick-Safe Treats and What Treats to Avoid

by Erin Snyder

Treats for baby chicks help new arrivals grow healthy and robust and can help prevent health problems, but what treats help chicks grow healthy and strong? Let’s go over some healthy chick-safe treats and what treats to avoid.

Monitoring Treats

Even though nothing is more rewarding than feeding chicks a delicious treat, treats should make up at most ten percent of their diet and should never replace their commercial feed. Chicks need a balance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients found in their chick feed to grow healthy and strong. Only offer chicks a treat in the afternoon or evening after they have had a chance to eat their formulated feed.

1. Rolled Oats

Rolled oats are more than a treat for baby chicks. They are an essential part of their diet. When choosing treats for baby chicks, oatmeal is always the first treat I offer my new arrivals.

Feeding oats to baby chicks may help to prevent or clear up pasty butt (a life-threatening condition in chicks, where the chick’s poop clogs up their vent, making it impossible for the chick to excrete).

Rolled oats are high in essential vitamins and minerals that chicks need to grow, including the B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and choline, as well as copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. This beneficial grain contains antioxidants and protein to help chicks grow healthy and strong.

To feed, grind up rolled oats (I use a food processor) into a course meal (similar to cornmeal). Sprinkle a small amount of oatmeal on the chicks feed once or twice daily.

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2. Watermelon

Watermelon is another one of my go-to treats for baby chicks. During the hot and humid summer months, chicks may need a boost of hydration and vitamins to prevent heat stroke. Watermelon is an excellent fruit for chicks as it has low sugar content. Watermelon is high in antioxidants and vitamins A, B6, and C.

To avoid choking, feed watermelon on the rind instead of cutting it into pieces. Also, always remove all seeds before feeding your chicks.

3. Dandelions

Dandelions contain vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K and are a good source of calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. High in protein, the entire plant (leaves and flowers) can be safely fed to chicks. The roots can be safely steeped into tea and cooled to room temperature before being added to the chicks’ water.

Dandelions are considered a general health tonic and are one of the healthiest treats for baby chicks. Never use dandelions that have been sprayed or may have come in contact with chemicals or pesticides.

4. Oregano

If there were only one treat to feed baby chicks, it would be oregano. This powerful herb has been proven to be a natural antibiotic and is thought to prevent coccidiosis, E.coli, Salmonella, Avian Influenza, and other deadly diseases.

Oregano can be fed fresh, dried, or steeped in a tea. Feeding oregano isn’t only a healthy option when choosing treats for baby chicks, but feeding this beneficial herb could be a lifesaver as it may protect your flock from contracting fatal diseases.

5. Scrambled Egg

Often called the “perfect food,” eggs contain everything you need to survive (lacking only vitamin C). Eggs not only make an ideal choice for treats for baby chicks, but they can also be the difference between life and death for a chick weakened and dehydrated from shipping.

Always cook eggs thoroughly before feeding them to chicks. Adding fresh or dried herbs to scrambled eggs can help boost nutrient levels if you feed eggs for a nutritious treat. However, when feeding eggs to a dehydrated and weak chick, omit the herbs and feed only the scrambled egg.

When feeding eggs to chicks, stick to chicken eggs versus other poultry eggs.

6. Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Dried black soldier fly larvae are an excellent protein supplement for baby chicks. Black soldier fly larvae have an excellent calcium-to-phosphorus ratio to help build strong bones. The bugs can easily be crushed with your fingers, making them easier for young chicks to digest.

Another plus to feeding dried black soldier fly larvae to baby chicks as treats is that these bugs are grown in the U.S. and are fed a vegetarian diet.

Treats for Baby Chicks to Avoid

Just like there are healthy treats for baby chicks, there are harmful treats, too. Keep reading to learn what treats to avoid when feeding baby chicks.


Mealworms aren’t bad on their own, but they lack much of the nutrition found in black soldier fly larvae. Mealworms are not fed a completely healthy diet and are not approved by the USDA to feed chickens. Therefore, mealworms are not considered a suitable treat for feeding baby chicks.


Bread is one of the most dangerous treats for baby chicks. Not only does bread contain high amounts of salt, leading to salt poisoning and, in extreme cases, death, but it also contains high amounts of yeast. When fed to baby chicks and adult chickens, the yeast builds up in the crop, resulting in a sour crop (a life-threatening condition common in backyard flocks caused by too much bacteria and yeast in the crop).


Many poultry experts disagree on whether tomatoes are healthy treats for baby chicks. Tomatoes contain a toxin called solanine, which is found in unripe tomatoes. Many experts suggest that baby chicks can safely consume overripe tomatoes. However, erring on the side of caution and never feeding tomatoes to chicks may help chicks live longer, healthier lives.

Just like adult chickens, chicks love treats. Choosing healthy treats for baby chicks will not only help your new arrivals stay healthy, but it will also help build a life-long bond between you and your chicks.

This article about the best treats for baby chicks was written for Chickens magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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