Thursday, 20 March 2014

What Should I Avoid Feeding My Chickens?

I will readily admit that when a packet of biscuits shows up in the office, or a member of the FSF team celebrates a birthday and we all gather for cake, I perhaps eat more than my fair share. When it comes to doughnuts my appetite has been, some what harshly I feel, described as "gluttonous" and my ability to tuck away three pieces of birthday cake as "impressively piggy". But it's not my fault, who doesn't turn down the opportunity to eat their own weight in treats when the chance arises, and our beloved chickens are no different.

Similar to my eating enough donuts to keep Crispy Kreme in business for another year, is bad for my health, there are many treats and plants that you should avoid giving to your chickens.

Poultry Treats
FSF Chickens having a Peck Around
Firstly, Peanuts. While a beloved snack for your garden birds that will see them through the coldest of temperature's, they should never be given to chickens. I have seen them for sale in and around "chicken world" as a treat for poultry, but they are in fact toxic to chickens when eaten in a great quantity and can lead to major health problems for you bird.

Also giving your hens the odd scrap of veggies here and there is fine, but if those vegetables are rotting it can lead to all sorts of issues, particularly botulism, which can be identified by a floppy necked or paralytic hen. The treatment is to clean everything with a good strong disinfectant, Virkon S. If you want to give your hens a healthy treat, try something like boiled potato peelings or carrots, a leaf or two of cabbage or other greens every other day but never too many.

Other treats to avoid are too many sunflower seeds and too much sweet corn. While your poultry will be eager for more, they are bad for them and will lead to runny yellow droppings. You should restrict these treats and make sure that they are eating staple diet of layers pellets, perhaps supplemented by mixed corn.

There are of course plenty of chicken treats available that are beneficial for poultry. The many types of pecking blocks and boredom busters available can help keep chickens entertained and have nutritional advantages. Here at FSF HQ we spoil our hens as much as the next poultry passionate person, but moderation is key.

If your hens are lucky enough to have run of the garden, there are plants that you may want to avoid as they can be toxic to chickens. Laburnum, the pea family, potato and tomato foliage, privet, yew, rapeseed, foxgloves should be avoided.

Healthy Poultry Treats
Boredom Busters for Chickens
We all love spoiling our girls, but like myself and the choice between a plate of doughnuts or the healthy option of fruit cake, making sure that your chickens get a healthy and balanced diet is paramount. If your girls are looking a little worst for wears our Chicken Checkup Info Page is always worth a look to aid in a diagnosis.

Thanks for Reading

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