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Best Winter Treats for your Chickens!

Winter treats for chickens should be high protein, high energy and keep them busy and from getting bored.

best winter treats for chickens

Winter treats for your chickens serve a couple of important purposes. 

They should be filling and provide lots of nutrients and energy since when the ground is frozen and possibly covered with snow, your flock can't be out eating bugs and weeds they find.

Chicken eating seeds in the snow

Unlike warm weather treats that should be water-laden, cooling foods such as watermelon, cucumber or frozen berries, cold weather treats should be high-protein, high-carb, high energy high-fat foods to help give your chickens what they need to stay warm and to keep weight on.

Think grains like oats, wheat or barley. Seeds like black oil sunflower or flax. And high energy foods like cracked corn and dried grubs.

Your chickens will be burning extra calories trying to stay warm through the winter, so a little extra fat isn't a bad idea. 

Since chickens hold the food they eat all day in their crop and then digest it overnight, that creates warmth for them through the energy they expend digesting what they've eaten.

pail of seeds and nuts

Winter treats also serve another important purpose: they can help to keep your chickens from getting bored during long, cold winter days and possibly start bullying or pecking at each other. 

Tossing sunflower seeds, scratch grains or nuts into a pile of dried leaves or straw will keep your chickens busy, as will providing them a suet block or root vegetable such as a turnip or parsnip to nibble on.

High protein treats will also help your chickens get through their annual molt more quickly and grow in nice new feathers for winter.

Best Winter Treats for your Chickens

  • Dried cracked corn
  • Unsalted nuts such as peanuts or walnuts
  • Cabbage
  • Sunflower seeds
Pan of warm oatmeal for chickens

Spices also have wonderful health benefits for chickens. Sprinkling some cinnamon over their feed (or some warm oats) can help keep your chickens warm by improving their circulation (which also helps prevent frostbite) and will boost respiratory health.

A sprinkle of cayenne pepper will also help warm them up by improving circulation - and adding cayenne pepper to a hen's diet is even said to get chickens laying again!

black chicken eating treats in winter

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Best warming winter treats for chickens

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