Chickens will eat just about anything you put in front of them. That’s no secret, and it makes it easy to supply your flock with daily treats.
But just because they will eat something doesn’t mean that they truly enjoy it. Like us, chickens have their own favorite foods that they’ll do just about anything to get a taste of.
If you really want to spoil your chickens, feeding them one of these time-tested treats is sure to get the job done. Read on and find out what chickens really like to eat!
The Ultimate List of Foods that Chickens Love to Eat
Fruits and Veggies: Produce Favorites for Your Poultry
Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrition and flavor, making them fantastic chicken treats. Don’t throw out those produce scraps — offer them to your flock instead!
Strawberries are a favorite of kids, adults and chickens alike. These lovely red berries are fun to eat thanks to their juicy texture, but they’re also loaded with vitamins A, B9 and C.
That’s not all: strawberries are rich in antioxidants and even contain quercetin, an anti-inflammatory compound.
And frozen strawberries make an extra-refreshing treat on hot summer days.
Don’t feed your chickens strawberries too often, though, as they’re high in sugar. They work best as an occasional treat.
Tempted to throw out those brown-spotted bananas? Don’t — your chickens will be happy to take them off your hands!
Peeled bananas make great treats for chickens thanks to their high levels of potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and B12. However, they’re high in sugar, so they should be fed in small amounts, and only once in a while as a special snack.
If you’re so inclined, you can toss the banana peels in a food processor until they’re chopped into chicken-bite-sized pieces, then feed them to your flock as well!
However you do it, one thing’s for sure: when the banana time rolls around, your chickens will be scrambling to get their beaks on these yummy fruits.
Slice zucchini lengthwise and put the slices in your chicken pen. Come back an hour later and they’ll be picked clean of seeds and flesh; they’re that irresistible to chickens!
Zucchini is high in potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamins A, B6, and C. The seeds also act as natural dewormers — talk about an all-purpose food!
Additionally, zucchini’s high water content makes it an ideal summertime treat.
Meat and Dairy: Poultry-Approved Protein
Chickens will happily eat any kind of egg: raw, boiled, poached, you name it. But scrambled eggs are the best — they’re fun to eat, easy to prepare and different enough from whole eggs that they won’t teach your chickens to eat everything they lay!
Scramble up some eggs (no salt, seasoning or butter!) and watch your chickens go wild. The high levels of protein and vitamin D will supply them with energy in the tastiest possible way.
You can purchase live crickets from most pet stores; they’re usually sold as lizard food. Chickens love them because they’re tasty, but also because they add an element of fun to snack time.
However, crickets should only be fed once in a while. They’re so high in protein that feeding them to your chickens too often can cause health complications like gout and kidney disease.
Chickens can’t digest dairy products very well, but many absolutely adore cheese. It’s perfectly fine to indulge them every once in a while with a few cubes of cheddar or a chunk of string cheese.
When fed in moderation, cheese is a great source of calcium and protein for your chickens.
Miscellaneous Snacktime Favorites for Chickens
Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds
Unsalted raw pumpkin and sunflower seeds are irresistible to chickens. They’re fun to eat and can help prevent worms.
If you happen to have a whole pumpkin with seeds inside, cut it in half and put the halves in your chicken pen. Your birds will spend hours picking seeds and flesh from the pumpkin!
Cooked Oatmeal or Porridge
Cook up some oatmeal or porridge (no spices, milk or other ingredients, please!), let it cool a bit and offer it to your chickens. A warm meal of cooked oats will delight them like nothing else on earth!
Oatmeal is high in fiber and iron, so it’ll keep your chickens from becoming anemic and smooth out any kinks in their digestive system. Don’t give it too often, though, or the excess fiber could cause diarrhea.
"People talk about fools counting chickens before they hatch. That's nothing. We name them."
-- Orson Scott Card, Alvin Journeyman