Chicken fanciers love to spoil their feathered friends with delicious and nutritious treats. But what exactly should you feed your chickens when you want to give them a little treat? Sure, you could purchase expensive chicken treats online or at your local farm store.
Your chickens will happily gobble them up! But if you want to save money or just do something nice for your happy hens, you may want to try cooking up your own delectable chicken treats.
Do Chickens Need Treats?
The truth is that chickens do not need treats in order to be healthy, but they can be a fun way to add some variety to their diet.
Treats can also be used as a training tool, as chickens will often come running when they see you with a goodie in hand. Ultimately, whether or not you give your chicken treats is up to you, but there is no harm in giving them an occasional treat.
When Can I Give My Chickens Treats?
Here are a few guidelines for treating your chickens:
- The best time to give treats is in the evening after they have finished their regular feed.
- Offer a variety of healthy treats such as fresh fruits and vegetables, cooked grains, or worms.
- Avoid giving your chickens processed foods, sweets, or fatty foods as these can lead to obesity and health problems.
- Be sure to wash any fruits or vegetables before giving them to your chickens.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your chickens enjoy a healthy and balanced diet that includes the occasional treat.
What Treats Can I Make For My Chickens?
If you’re ready to try your hand at creating your own delectable dishes for your chickens, keep reading. Here is the ultimate list of tasty recipes for you to make for your hens.
1) Oatmeal Cookie Balls
The recipe for these treats is loosely based on an old recipe for oatmeal cookies. They are easy to whip up and will freeze well. Just remember to keep your hands (and mouth!) off because these are supposed to be for the chickens.
You’ll find the recipe here (you can see how ours turned out in the picture above).
2) Chicken Oatmeal
Everyone loves a warm bowl of oatmeal on a chilly day. Here is a basic oatmeal recipe and some ideas to adapt it to make it delicious and nutritious for your hens. Enjoy this recipe here.
3) Cranberry Raisin Peanut Butter Cakes
Your birds will just adore these little cakes filled with the goodness of peanut butter, scratch grains, and mealworms.
No cooking necessary, you just melt the peanut butter in the microwave and then freeze the final result. Don’t forget to take off the cupcake liners before you share them with your flock. Read about it here.
4) Herbal Oatmeal
Amy Fewell of the Fewell Homestead explains how oatmeal should not be fed to the flock on a regular basis because it can cause diarrhea. However, she loves the idea of using it as a snack with adaptagenic herbs.
She prefers using steel-cut oats over instant oatmeal along with flaxseed chamomile, chia seeds, molasses, and even banana peels for her birds. You can see the video on Youtube:
5) Poultry Protein Platter
Molting chickens can look sad and scraggly. You may need to give them a little extra protein to help them through this phase.
Of course, you always need to be careful that your chickens aren’t getting too much protein when they don’t need it, but this recipe is perfect for the molting hen.
6) Suet Cakes
Suet cakes are a great boredom buster for the flock. Bored chickens may peck at each other or otherwise behave badly, so give them this fun snack to help. Bonus, it contains healthy fats like coconut oil to give them a calorie boost in winter.
These suet cake treats work great when frozen, so they are perfect for helping hot hens cool off in the middle of the summer. Try these suet cakes here.
7) Chicken Birthday Cake
If your birds are your pets, you will probably want to celebrate their ‘birthday’ (or perhaps remember the day they hatched) with their very own chicken birthday cake.
This cake takes about twenty minutes to bake but is easy to put together. Your chickens will love sampling this birthday treat.
8) Frozen Ice Cube Treat with Mint
It’s important to keep chickens hydrated in the summer heat. You can help keep them hydrated and cool with these refreshing treats. Due to the menthol content, mint is a cooling herb. Consuming mint helps reduce body temperature.
Freezing mint in ice cubes gives your chicken something to peck at while helping them stay cool and hydrated. Read all about mint here.
9) Frozen Chicken Treats
Some chickens don’t handle heat well, and you can help by giving them frozen chicken treats. This recipe is not only great for the chickens, it’s also frugal.
Use up your leftover fruits and veggies by chopping them up and putting them into this tasty treat. It will help your hens stay cool and occupied.
10) Frozen Treat
Here is another super easy recipe that you can make to keep your chickens cool in the extreme heat. Grab your old jello molds, baking tins, or cake pans and fill them up with extra veggies.
The more colorful the variety, the better the dessert looks to your eyes and to your flock. These frozen treats are easy to make and serve all summer long.
11) Frozen Blueberry Treats
Nothing says summer like the sweet taste of blueberries. When the harvest is overwhelming, this is a great way to use up those extra berries and give your hens some extra nutrients, as well.
They’ll love digging the blueberries out of the ice, and the broth will give them a few extra calories, as well.
12) Frozen Muffins
If you’re looking for more ways to beat the heat, here’s another super-easy idea. Look through this short list of chicken treats to find the directions to make these super easy chicken corn muffins.
You’ll be amazed at how simple they are and how much your birds love to eat these frozen muffin treats.
13) Frozen Yogurt
Save the soft-serve for yourself and whip up this tasty idea for your flock. All you need is a little plain yogurt, some frozen berries, and a blender. Blend the frozen berries in with the yogurt, and toss it in the freezer until it firms up just a bit.
Scoop your creation into a chicken bowl, and top it with a few additional berries, seeds, or even mealworms. Watch the video here:
14) Frozen Beef Tallow Treats
Hens don’t sweat, so it becomes even more critical to help stay hydrated when the temperatures soar. Here’s another frozen suet cake, but this one uses beef tallow as its main ingredient.
Beef tallow is a great choice when it is extra hot because it has a higher melting point than other oils, such as coconut oil. See if it’s right for your flock by reading up on the Frugal Chicken here.
15) Pumpkin Seed Treats
Pumpkin seeds not only taste great, they also help to rid of internal parasites.
This article shows you how to chop up pumpkin seeds so your flock can get the most nutrition. It’s easier than you think, so give it a try here.
We tried these pumpkin treats ourselves:
16) Sushi Balls
Lisa, from Fresh Eggs Daily, is a creative cook and chicken expert. Follow these instructions to see how she made some cute and clever sushi ball treats for her hens. Edible flowers not only add vitamins and minerals, they also make the treats extra pretty.
17) Chicken Scratch Sunflower Wreath
As if sushi balls weren’t cute enough for your flock, Lisa gives us another dose of cute and tasty treats with her Edible Wreath.
With a little experimentation, she was able to adapt a wreath for wild birds and make it just right for chickens. This wreath looks great for Christmas or any time of year.
18) Holiday Garland
If you love stringing popcorn and cranberries for your Christmas decorations, you’ll love making this pretty little garland to share with your poultry.
You can make it as festive as you like – try incorporating radishes, cabbage heads, or any other seasonable vegetable that you would normally feed your flock. Try the holiday garland.
19) Homemade Flock Block
Hens generally love Flock Blocks, but they can be hard on your chicken budget. Movis Butterfield, of One Hundred Dollars a Month, shows a great way to serve up a little flock block and keep more dollars in your wallet.
Try this easy and cheap homemade flock block.
20) Yogurt Treats
Barefoot Homesteader tells us the importance of feeding treats in moderation yet helps us spoil our birds with a refreshing yogurt.
Make your own or buy it at the store, check out how they feed yogurt to their hens to help them be happy and healthy.
21) Frozen Scrambled Egg Pops
If you have chickens, you’ve probably heard of the The Chicken Chick, Kathy Shea Mormino. Known for her exceptionally clean and cute chicken yard, you’ll love her for her expertise on all things chicken.
Check out these Scrambled Egg Pops that she serves to her hens, and have a look at how ours turned out just below:
If you want happy hens, you want to consider serving up some mealworms from time to time.
But spare yourself the expense of purchasing freeze-dried mealworms and use this method for raising your own. Nothing is funnier than a chicken gobbling up a few squirmy worms.
23) Sprouted Barley
If you’re a serious homesteader, a simple DIYer, or even someone who just likes to grow things, you’ll enjoy this fodder method for treating your flock.
Fresh fruits and veggies can be scarce in the middle of winter, but sprouting a little barley and growing some fodder can help. Learn how to sprout here.
24) Frozen Watermelon Bowl
Check out this short list of flock favorites to find something enticing for your flock. I especially love the frozen watermelon bowl, and so will your birds. This super simple treat will hydrate and satisfy your hungry hens.
25) Organic Homemade Chicken Feed
If chicken feed is on your menu, you’ll want to check out this recipe for homemade organic chicken feed from the Elliot Homestead.
They recommend sourcing your grains wisely. If you don’t you’ll find this recipe is very costly to make. Avoid buying your grains from the grocery store, but check out your local feed mills, instead. Find out more, here.
26) Cabbage or Melon Tetherball
Part dessert, part game, this ‘recipe’ calls for a lot of fun for your flock! You can use cabbage, melon, cucumber, or even ears of corn to make this.
Use an apple corer to put a hole through the center of whatever fruit or veggie you choose, then hang it from a piece of strong twine. Your flock will have a blast getting to this treat.
27) Egg Casserole
If your hens are laying well, you may have an abundance of eggs to use up. Here’s a great recipe to use up all those extra eggs and give your chickens something to cackle about. You can also add in some other extras, such as flax seed oatmeal, or even leftover cheese:
28) Molt Muffins
The Chicken Chick does it again – you’ll love this recipe for molt muffins, and so will your chickens. Help them through a hard molt with these easy, homemade treats.
Kathy suggests using grains and seeds for protein rather than people food like hamburgers. Check out her recipe here.
Stef Pollack from the Cupcake Project shares her love for cupcakes with her urban flock of chickens.
A self-proclaimed urban hipster, she even shares almond butter with her hens. You can serve up these little pastries fresh or frozen; no special occasion required to celebrate your flock.
30) Pancakes for Chickens
Shannon Cole shares her favorite recipe for healthy chicken pancakes on the Community Chickens Website. You’ll probably have the pancake ingredients on hand, but you can have a little more fun with the mix-ins.
These pancakes freeze well, so make a double batch for your flock for later. Shannon says her children may not love these pancakes, but her hens definitely do!
31) Chicken Treats for Better Eggs
We all want the best eggs possible from our flock, and serving up these specialty treats will help. Maat tells us everything she puts into this treat and why.
Herbs such as Oregano, Parsley, Chamomile, and Lavender will help your hens feel good, lay well, and provide the best eggs ever. Find out more about the best eggs ever at this link.
32) Treats for Baby Chicks
Don’t forget the baby chicks in your flock. Here are some great treats for the littlest members of your flock.
Maat likes to start her baby chicks eating out of a little bowl to make it easier for them to find their food and treats. You’ll be impressed at what she gives her babies for treats:
33) The Easiest Chicken Treat Ever
The experts at Murano Chicken Farm love to treat their chickens, too, and you’ll love how easy these treats are. Because this recipe calls for coconut oil, you’ll want to use it during cooler weather so the treat doesn’t melt before the hens can eat it.
This recipe for suet cakes for chickens is so easy, it’s sure to grace the pages of your chicken cookbook.
34) Sunday Chicken Treats
Ros likes to make brunch for her chickens on Sundays. She saves money on feed and gives them a tasty treat they seem to love. You’ll love it too, because it is easy to make and saves money.
Her recipe feeds 6; if you have a bigger flock, you’ll need to increase the recipe proportionally. Check out Sunday brunch here.
35) Chicken Crack
Samantha gives her chickens free feed pellets but likes to give them a tasty treat every afternoon. Here’s her version of Chicken Crack.
This recipe can be adjusted to your liking, and according to what you have on hand. Your chickens will go crazy for this chicken crack recipe.
36) Fermented Chicken Food
Homesteaders love fermenting foods. Not only does it help preserve them, it also increases the nutritional value. The same is true for chicken food.
If you want to increase the nutritional value of your chicken feed, you may want to try your hand at fermenting it. You can find the instructions here for a delicious meal your chickens will devour.
37) Cheep Organic Chicken Feed
In a perfect world, all feed would be organic and we wouldn’t have to pay extra for it. But the realist is that organic food and organic feed can be very expensive.
However, Marye Audet helps us learn how to make our own organic chicken feed for just a fraction of the cost. And yes, organic chicken feed can be cheap if you know how to make it.
38) Snack Block
Snack blocks can be expensive and hard to find, especially if you are looking for something organic as a snack for your feathered friends.
This copycat recipe of Purina’s Organic Flock Block is easy to use and will help you use up all those leftovers hanging around in your pantry. Read more about Snack Blocks here.
39) Magic Water for Chicks
Let’s not forget a refreshing drink to go with all those tasty snacks. Here you can find out what Magic Water is and how to make it for your baby chicks. Magic Water will help your chicks to get off to a good start with electrolytes, and vitamins:
40) Garden Betty’s Organic Chicken Feed
Linda, also known as Garden Betty, loves to grow her own food. Here she takes her food knowledge to the flock and creates her own recipe for organic chicken feed. Your hens will love this tasty treat.
41) Homemade Chicken Feed with Fish Meal
Jill Winger of the Prairie Homestead has another take on chicken feed. She likes to improve the typical chicken feed recipe with a little fish meal. It tastes great to them, but also adds to the nutritional value of the feed. Check out this fish meal recipe here.
42) Molt Meatloaf
In late summer and early fall, chickens usually go through a molting process where they lose their feathers and grow new ones.
Feathers are mostly made up of protein so you can help your flock ride out their molt by increasing their protein intake. Try this Molt Meatloaf from Fresh Eggs Daily as a treat for your flock.
43) Chicken Popsicles
Kids sure love popsicles, and so do your chickens. Daschle Dunne found this chicken popsicle recipe on Pinterest and used it to prevent heat stress for his chickens.
Daschle used a giant zucchini for his chicken popsicles, but you can use almost any fruit or veggie that you would normally serve up for your flock:
44) Chicken Forage
This chicken idea is less of a recipe and more of a how-to! If you can’t free-range your chickens, you can still offer them some forage when you grow your own. Check out this great video from the Gardenerd on how to grow your own chicken forage:
45) Another Flock Block Treat
There are endless variations of flock blocks for you to make for your flock. Back to Basics Gal has a great way of making these treats on the cheap. Check out the video here:
46) Winter Treats
Half Acre Homestead tells us that chickens need some extra fat and protein in the winter. She includes ground-up egg shells in her winter treats to give the chickens a little calcium boost, too. Check out this video for how to make these winter treats for your hens:
47) Christmas Chicken Wreath
Watch this video from Gapey’s Grub on how to make a special Christmas gift for your flock. This recipe includes unflavored gelatin to give the wreath its shape:
48) DIY Chicken Treats
While most chicken treats are served fresh or frozen, these delightful treats are baked with oats, layer crumble, and chicken scratch:
49) Cooking Eggs
One of the best things about cooking for my birds is being creative with all the leftovers I can add in.
Here, TimberCreek Farmer gives us some great ideas on cooking up eggs alongside some fancy mix-ins you can use to add nutritional value and taste.
50) Chicken Cobbler
What would a good meal be without a great dessert? If you really want to treat your hens to something special, try this recipe for Chicken Cobbler.
Home Farm Ideas uses a corn cob and organic peanut butter to create this treat your chickens will adore. This easy, no-bake cookie idea will entertain your flock, and fill their bellies:
A Few Quick Tips for Making Chicken Treats
Here are a few more tips to keep in mind.
What Ingredients Should I Have for Making Treats?
There are all kinds of recipes out there to help you make healthy foods for all your favorite members of the chicken coop – but in general, here are some dry ingredients and wet ingredients you should have on hand before you start baking homemade chicken treats:
- Whole wheat flour
- Pasta and rice
- Sunflower seeds
- Dairy products (like milk and butter)
- Your favorite vegetables/fruits (scraps count – think nutrient-dense picks like beets, carrots, broccoli, strawberries, etc)
You don’t need to go all out on a break-the-bank shopping trip to feed your backyard chickens, either.
In most cases, you can make these recipes with whatever you have in your cupboard. Some people even feed their birds things like dog treats! So get creative.
How Do You Make Hanging Treats for Chickens?
There are a few different ways that you can make hanging chicken treats. One option is to purchase some pre-made hangers from your local pet store.
Another option is to make your own hangers using items that you probably already have around the house. For example, you can use an empty toilet paper roll or paper towel roll and fill it with chicken feed.
Then, simply tie a string around one end of the roll and hang it from the ceiling of the coop. Your flock members will love pecking at the feed as it comes out of the roll!
At What Age Can Chickens Have Treats?
Generally, at any age, but with a few caveats.
While your flock will enjoy treats such as scraps of food or table scraps, it is important to only give them these items in moderation. In addition, it is important to avoid giving them spoiled food or toxic substances.
Treats should also be given in moderation to chicks, as they are still growing and need a balanced diet to stay healthy.
Ultimately, the best way to determine when your chicken is ready for a snack is to consult with a veterinarian or knowledgeable chicken keeper.
What Foods Should I Not Give My Birds?
When cooking for your birds, there are a few items to avoid. Dried beans are very toxic to chickens and should be avoided.
Also, foods like avocado, green potatoes, green tomatoes, chocolate and caffeine, rhubarb, and apple seeds. You may want to do some research to make sure you aren’t giving your flock foods that they should not be eating.
Some people recommend not giving their birds things like garlic or onions, either, as this might affect the taste of the eggs.
Ok, this was a long list, but when it comes to creative chicken treats, the Internet is full of ideas! Care to share yours below in the comments section? And be sure to pin this article on Pinterest, so you can easily come back to it in the future.
Amanda is a homesteader and a Jesus-loving, mother of 6 toddlers. She’s raising lots of fancy chickens and goats on her small homestead (among other things).