Can Chickens Eat Strawberries?

 

Main Takeaways:

  • Yes, chickens can eat strawberries
  • For chicks, make sure the strawberries are very ripe and soft.
  • Make sure to squash the berries or chop them very finely
  • This shouldn’t replace regular chick starter! It’s a treat only
  • Stay away from jams, jellies, or anything with preservatives
  • If you buy berries from the store, wash them very well.
  • Consider buying berries from local sources that don’t use pesticides.

 

More reading:

Can chicks eat bananas?

Medicated vs. Unmedicated chick starter

Herbal treats for backyard chickens

Easy Herb Harvesting For Chickens!

Main takeaways:

  • Lemon balm and basil have lots of nutrients and health benefits for chickens
  • Ducks love them too!
  • Lemon balm is very easy to grow – you can harvest your first year, and it’ll grow back!
  • To easily clean herbs, put them into a 5 gallon bucket, add a top, and shake.

 

More reading:

Which herbs are great for hens?

How to grow an herb garden

Immune supporting herbs for chickens

 

Are Crumbles Or Mash Better For Chicks?

Main Takeaways & Extra Info:

  • Crumbles and mash are just different ways to feed starter to chicks. One isn’t necessarily better than the other.
  • It’s important that whichever you feed, the chick starter has at least 18% protein.
  • I feed a mash because I want to make sure my chicks can eat it (particle sizes are small enough)
  • Grinding the food into a mash might preserve some of the nutrients better.
  • Crumbles have gone through an extra step of grinding, and then heating and compressing the ingredients, so some nutrients might be lost. (You can always ask the manufacturer about this)
  • Our chick starter has not been heated – just ground so baby chicks can eat it. (View our chick starter here)
  • With any chick feed be careful about getting it wet and leaving it to mold. Always change the feed out daily!

 

Additional reading:

What do chickens eat

High protein treats for chickens

Watch all the Baby Chick Series Videos here

Medicated Vs. Unmedicated Chick Starter

The debate about medicated vs. unmedicated chick starter has been raging for decades.

 

Controversies are often unavoidable, especially when it comes to the well-being of our families. Discussions about what is best for both our human families and our animal families are inevitable. 

 

 

With increasingly available means of preventative medicine for all aspects of our families comes discussions of the relative value of such medication.   

 

There is lots of bickering back and forth on social media about whether it’s better to feed your chicks medicated chick starter or unmedicated chick starter. 

 

Today, I’m going into some facts about this controversial topic. Specifically, we’ll explore the differences between them, dispel some of the myths out there, and give you information that can help you figure out whether medicated or unmedicated is right for you.

 

Main Takeaways:

  • Medicated chick starter has an added medication called Amprolium, which “used to prevent and treat intestinal coccidiosis”. It’s not an antibiotic.
  • Coccidiosis is a parasite infestation that can occur both in adult chickens and baby chicks. It can be deadly.
  • Unmedicated chick starter does not have Amprolium or any other medicine in it.
  • The chick starter Pampered Chicken Mama produces is non-medicated. (View here)
  • Which is best for chicks? There’s no right or wrong answer. You decide what’s best for your flock.
  • I don’t personally feed medicated chick starter.
  • You can add herbs such as garlic, lemon balm, and oregano to support healthy immune system functions. Our chick starter includes these herbs.

 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that there really isn’t a right or a wrong choice when it comes to these two different types of chick starter. One has some extra medication in it to help with parasite control, while the other doesn’t. 

 

In terms of their nutritional value, I personally think that they’re the same. It is fine that some people out there disagree with me on that, but my opinion is based on my own observations and experiences. 

 

Medicated Chick Starter

To look at what medicated chick starter is, it’s important to distinguish what it is not. I’m not sure who started this or why there is a misunderstanding about this product, but medicated chick starter does not have antibiotics in it. 

 

Medicated chick starter does have amprolium in it. Amprolium is a medication that prevents the growth of parasites that are naturally found in the soil.

 

Coccidiosis

Coccidiosis is an infestation of parasites in a chick or chicken’s gut or intestines. In baby chicks and adults too, this can be deadly. 

 

Will it kill every chick if you don’t use medicated chick starter? No. 

 

Might it a kill a chick? Possibly. 

 

Unfortunately, the veterinary medical care surrounding baby chicks, in particular, and chickens in general, isn’t very advanced. It’s really hard to acquire accurate figures surrounding Coccidiosis. 

 

I don’t know how many statistics out there show how many chicks actually die of parasite infestation. Medicated chick starter, however, was designed to directly combat both Coccidiosis and parasite infestation. 

 

In terms of the nutrient value, medicated chick starter has 18% protein in it. If it doesn’t, I would find a chick starter that does have at least 18% protein. If it’s produced by a commercial manufacturer, it’s gonna have all the nutrients your baby chicks need to grow into healthy adults. 

 

Unmedicated Chick Starter

Unmedicated chick starter doesn’t have this extra medication that helps prevent the growth of parasites. 

 

Unfortunately, these parasites are everywhere, and they’re going to be in the soil, on grass, wherever, so your chicks are going to be exposed to them. It’s up to the chick to build up an immunity against them. 

 

Some people argue that medicated chick starter doesn’t help chicks build up that immunity or that it’s somehow unnecessary to help build up that immunity. 

 

Unmedicated chick starter, again, has the amount of nutrients that they need to grow up healthy. It has all the beneficial minerals that your chicks need. 

 

Unmedicated chick starter doesn’t have the amprolium in it, and that is ultimately the only difference between the two types of chick starter.

 

Organic Options and Uses for Chickens

When some people want to raise their chickens organically or naturally, they choose to not feed the medicated chick starter. This organic approach keeps pharmaceutical medication from going through their chickens. 

 

This is important particularly for people who choose to raise their chickens for meat, like broilers. This prevents their birds from polluting people with pharmaceuticals when they are consumed. 

 

If you’re raising layers, this is not as large a problem. By the time the chicks are actually layers, you’ve probably taken them off the medicated chick starter. That means that the amprolium is not going to be in their system any longer and cannot be passed to their eggs.


Your Choice

So that’s the deal and I’m not going to tell you which to choose. 

 

What we sell in our stores is unmedicated chick starter. That seems to be more popular with people who follow me and people who buy from me.

 

I don’t think that there’s anything immoral about either one. If you choose to feed medicated chick starter, that’s fine. 

 

If you choose to feed unmedicated chick starter, that’s fine also. It just depends on what your individual goals are and what you feel is best for your flock. 

 

Just remember that the lack or inclusion of amprolium is the main difference between medicated and unmedicated chick starter.

 

What Can Chickens Eat In Your Garden? Planning a Chicken Garden for All Seasons: Spring

What can chickens eat in your garden? Well, plenty. But you have to grow something first! And luckily, this article will show you everything you can grow as treats for your backyard chickens and ducks!

I’ve invited my friend Julia of ReformStead.com to tell us how she transforms her garden into a chicken garden each year! Growing fruits and veggies for your chickens is easy – and it’s a great way to provide fresh produce to your flock!

Planting a Chicken Garden In Spring

Planting a garden is a great way to provide an abundance of fresh, healthy food for your backyard chicken flock. It’s easy to add some of your chicken’s favorites to the garden and grow them alongside your family’s vegetables.  All you have to do is harvest and feed them to your chickens once they are ripe. As a bonus, this can help you save money on your chicken’s feed bill. With a little planning, you can do your best to provide your flock with access to these fresh fruits and vegetables year-round.

What can chickens eat with tomatoes and hens

What Can Chickens Eat In Your Garden?

How to Plan & Grow a Seasonal Garden for Your Chickens

Planning a garden for your chickens doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s a good idea to have something green, or fresh, for them year-round. Pasture grass can serve this purpose during warmer seasons, however extra produce is still good for them in addition to pasture.

It’s also good to keep in mind that your chickens lay more eggs when the weather is nice, and that’s usually when you’ll harvest the most fresh vegetables. Greens high in omega-3’s, herbs, and any fresh garden produce is especially good to feed your chickens during this time (you can find a complete list of alternative feed for chickens here).

If you’re wondering “What can chickens eat from the garden,” in the following lists, I’ve focused on produce that your chickens will love best and that are easy to grow. However, don’t forget “weeds” like purslane, mallow, dandelion, and many more are great for chickens. Make sure to harvest these “weed” greens for them too as you find them in your garden this year.  Before we get to the list though, let’s talk about what chickens can eat, and what they should avoid.  

What Garden Produce Do Chickens Eat?

It is important to know what chickens can and cannot eat before you plan your garden. Chickens can eat practically anything, within reason. For starters, here’s a list of 107 things a chicken can eat. There are a few plants/foods you’ll want to avoid growing for your chickens.

Not advisable for chickens:

  • Rhubarb
  • Tomato & Eggplant Leaves (tomato fruits are fine)
  • Raw Potatoes & Green Potato Skins
  • Uncooked dry Beans & Rice
  • Onions and peppers aren’t going to be their favorites either

However, there is some debate over whether or not some of these are really bad for chickens. You can read more details in my article, 11 Things Not to Feed Chickens, where I go into this subject in more detail.

What to Grow & When for Your Chickens: Spring

Chicken Gardening by Month: Zones 3-4

Last frost date (average): May 15th

April

Start Indoors:

Start Outside:

  • Beets (chickens will eat leaves & root if you cook it for them.)
  • Radishes (chickens will eat leaves & root)
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Plant fruit trees/shrubs

(Chickens love fallen mulberries and they drop tons of fruit–good for the chickens, but make sure to plant away from walkways and living areas. Figs, elderberries, and blackberries are also good options.)

Find out what else to plant in April here.

May

Start Indoors:

  • Squash
  • Melons
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Basil
  • Dill

Start Outside:

  • Beets (chickens will eat leaves & root if you cook it for them.)
  • Carrots
  • Radishes (chickens will eat leaves & root)
  • Lettuce
  • Kale

After the last frost, you can transplant seedlings out (after hardening them off) and plant squash, melons, tomatoes, basil, dill, etc., from seed.

Find out what else to plant in May here.

If you want to buy produce at the farmers market, here’s what’s in season.

June

Transplant seedlings

  • Squash
  • Melons
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Pretty much all herbs

Find out what else to plant in June here

Find a list of what’s in season at the farmer’s market here.

Chicken Gardening by Month: Zones 5-7

Last frost date (average): April 15th

April

Start Indoors:

  • Squash
  • Melons
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Rosemary (potted)

Start Outside:

  • Basil
  • Beets (chickens will eat leaves & root if you cook it for them.)
  • Carrots (Plant early in the month. chickens will eat leaves & root)
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes (chickens will eat leaves & root)
  • Plant fruit trees/shrubs (Chickens love fallen mulberries, figs, elderberries, blackberries and more.)
  • After last frost set out transplants, and continue to plant warm loving crops from seed (squash, melons, corn, etc.)
  • Rosemary (potted)

Find out what else to plant in April here.

May

Start Outside:

  • Beets (chickens will eat leaves & root if you cook it for them.)
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Squash
  • Radishes
  • Rosemary (Potted)
  • Tomatoes
  • Melons
  • Squash
  • Corn
  • Basil
  • Pretty much all herbs

Find out what else to plant in May here.

If you want to buy produce at the farmers market, here’s what’s in season.

June

Start Outside:

  • Tomatoes (potted)
  • Squash
  • Melons
  • Herbs

Find out what else to plant in June here

Find a list of what’s in season at the farmer’s market here.

Chicken Gardening by Month: Zone 8

Last frost date (average): March 15th

April

Plant outdoors:

  • Corn
  • Melons
  • Tomatoes (learn to grow tomatoes here)
  • Squash
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Pretty much all herbs
  • Rosemary 

Find out what else to plant in April here.

May

  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Squash
  • Corn
  • Tomatoes

Find out what else to plant in May here.

If you want to buy produce at the farmers market, here’s what’s in season.

June

Find out what else to plant in June here

Find a list of what’s in season at the farmer’s market here.

Chicken Gardening by Month: Zone 9

Last frost date (average): February 15th

(These are some of the slowest months for planting in zone 9–things are just too hot out. However, even these few plants will help your chickens a lot as we wait until the cooler months come again.)

April

  • Basil
  • Corn
  • Muskmelons
  • Radishes
  • Rosemary (Potted. I like to plant it by their coop, protect it the first few years until established and then let them eat it and enjoy the shade–they love the plant!)
  • Squash

Find out what else to plant in April here.

May

  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Moringa (I have this planted behind our chicken coop. I imagine they eat the leaves, but I know they love to hang out back there in the shade. This is a more tropical plant are requires warmth with little to no frost. It grows great in our zone 9, and it would do well in zone 10. Very easy to grow from seed.)
  • Muskmelons

Find out what else to plant in May here.

If you want to buy produce at the farmers market, here’s what’s in season.

June

  • Basil
  • Muskmelons
  • Start tomato seeds indoors for fall
  • Moringa

Find out what else to plant in June here

Find a list of what’s in season at the farmer’s market here.

Julia Hubler lives in Arizona on two and a half acres, with HOT summers, lots of cacti and amazing sunsets! A sinner saved by grace first and foremost, she is also a homeschool graduate living with her family at home and serving the King, Jesus Christ, above all. She blogs at ReformStead.com about everything homesteading. You can also follow her on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/reformstead/ , Instagram https://www.instagram.com/reformstead/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/reformstead/ .

Still wonder “what can chickens eat in your garden?” Probably not – there’s so many options! Have fun planting your chicken garden this spring!