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5 Best Fall Treats for Chickens

When your chickens are molting in the fall, they'll appreciate these protein-packed treats!

Every fall like clockwork, your chickens will start to drop their feathers. 

The timing of the annual molt is tied to days getting shorter. That lack of daylight signals to chickens (and ducks) that it's time to grow in nice new feathers to help them stay warm through the winter.


Protein-Rich Fall Treats for Chickens

Since chicken feathers are around 90% protein, it requires lots of protein for them to not only regrow a new set of feathers, but also keep up their body weight heading into the cold winter.

For that reason, I like to concentrate on protein-rich treats for my flock in the fall.

No more garden produce and other water- laden summer treats like watermelon or cucumbers. Instead, we go heavy on the protein.


Fall Garden Produce

I still do feed some of our fall garden harvest to my chickens each fall - such as pumpkins, squash, carrots and garlic. 

These treats are also beneficial because they are thought to act as a natural wormer for poultry as well as being incredibly nutritious.

Meat Scraps for Chickens

But in the fall I like to add some meat scraps to my chickens diet. Yes, chickens eat meat. They are omnivores!  I'll give them steak or pork trimmings, cooked chopped meat, shrimp and lobster shells and even our Thanksgiving turkey carcass! They'll pick it clean! 

Chickens can also eat chicken scraps... but if all that makes you uncomfortable, there are loads of sources of plant protein your chickens will also benefit from - and enjoy.


5 Best Fall Treats for Chickens

But for the most part, the best fall treats for my chickens consist of the following: 

  • Dried grubs or mealworms  
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Peas
  • Sunflower seeds 

Dried grubs or mealworms 

Dried insects of all kinds are a great natural source of protein for your chickens. 

When your flock is out free ranging of course they'll find their own bugs and worms to gobble up, but in the fall when the insects aren't plentiful, dried grubs or mealworms are a great fall treat for your chickens. 

If you are ambitious, you can even grow your own live mealworms for your chickens!

Eggs

Believe it or not, eggs are one of the best nutritious snacks you can feed your chickens. Eggs are a wonderful source of not only complete protein, but also loads of vitamins and nutrients. 

In fact, an egg contains every nutrient needed for life except for Vitamin C. 

Contrary to what you may have heard, feeding your chickens eggs won't lead to them eating their own eggs. And in fact, I believe the opposite. 

Chickens fed eggs (and eggshells) are less apt to seek out additional sources of calcium and protein on their own. So scramble up a pan of eggs for your chickens. They'll also happily eat raw or hard boiled eggs. 

Nuts 

All kinds of nuts are great sources of protein for your chickens. Just be sure they're unsalted. You can most likely find peanuts in the shell in bulk in the birdseed section of your feed store or grocery store. 

You can feed them to your chickens in the shell or shelled. They'll figure it out either way!

Or check out the woodpecker bird seed mixes.  They're packed with not only nuts but also dried fruit that your chickens will also enjoy. 

Other types of nuts such as walnuts, almonds or pistachios are also good fall chicken treats.


Peas

Peas are another great protein-packed fall treat for chickens. Peas are generally 25-30% protein.  And if you also raise ducks, they'll love the peas too which are a good source of the extra niacin they need. 

You can feed your flock fresh, frozen, canned or dried split peas. 


Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are also very high in protein and also good fats. That can help keep healthy weight on your chickens as the expend all that energy and protein growing in new feathers. 

Black oil sunflower seeds are probably the most common type and most economical. Most feed stores sell big bulk bags of them.


Providing your chickens these 5 best fall treats will not only help them regrow nice shiny, healthy feathers before the winter snows fly, it will also help them stay at a good weight heading into the cold months. 

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