5 High Protein Treats For Backyard Chickens

5 High Protein Treats For Backyard Chickens

Winter is here….and although most backyard chickens weather winter well, you might find yourself worrying about whether they’re getting enough protein.

 

Your flock’s feathers are critical to their health during the winter. Feathers serve some important purposes, including protection from the wind AND keeping your backyard chickens warm.

 

So, providing your hens a diet that’s high in protein is criticial.

 

While most commerical feeds have 16% protein, you might want your flock to get even more protein so even the coldest days won’t effect them.

 

In this article, I’m going to show you lots of different high protein options that both chickens and ducks love!

 

There’s something for every backyard chicken on this list, and most of these treats also have important vitamins and minerals too!

 

Brewer’s Yeast

It’s not something you typically associate with protein, but brewer’s and nutritional yeast is FULL of protein – they’re both about 40% protein.

 

You can mix brewer’s yeast with your flock’s regular feed, or with a special treat you’ve created for them (such as the eggs or black soldier fly larvae above).

 

It’s probably best to mix it with something else. It’s full of protein but also powdery – so adding it to food with texture will help your chickens enjoy their treat more.

 

You can buy it in our store here, and it’s mixed with garlic, oregano, and echinacea – all herbs traditionally used to support healthy immune systems in chickens.

 

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black soldier fly larvae are about 40% protein, and hens LOOOOOOVE them!

 

You can buy them dried right here or you can create your own farm – they’re remarkably easy to farm, and they’ll live in anything.

 

(Recently, we discovered a BSFL farm in my truck bed, where some grain had spilled. Totally disgusting and proof they’ll hatch anywhere.

 

We had NO idea they established residence until some torrential downpours caused them to jump ship. Let’s just say the hens were VERY happy for a few days).

 

If farming black soldier fly larvae isn’t your deal, then you can always go with dried ones – hens love them either way!

Dried River Shrimp

Like black soldier fly larvae, dried river shrimp are full of protein.

 

The nice thing about shrimp is they’re very easy for tiny beaks to consume, so if your chickens aren’t quite adults yet (or if you have baby chicks), you might find shrimp are easier for them to eat.

 

Ducks in particular love shrimp (I think more than other treats), and mine really love when we float dried river shrimp on water for them.

 

In fact, we named one of our most recent ducklings “Hoover” because he eats the shrimp so fast!

 

You can buy dried river shrimp right here.

Quinoa

You might not think of quinoa when you think about treats for chickens, but it’s full of protein, and when cool, makes a great high protein treat.

 

I cook my chickens and ducks quinoa before feeding it to make it easier to digest, which in turn makes the protein and nutrients more bioavailable.

 

Cooked quinoa contains 8 g of protein per cup, and it’s also full of magnesium, iron, fiber, and manganese.

 

Just make sure it’s 100% cool before offering it to your flock.

 

Kale

Yep, kale uis very high in protein, and it might break up some long winter days when your flock refuses to leave the coop.

 

It’s also full of vitamins and minerals!

 

An easy way to provide kale for your backyard chickens is to hang the leaves in the coop. Your flock can pick at the leaves, and once they’re done, it’s easy to remove.

 

For ducks, it’ll be easier to float the kale on water for them. Because of their round bills, ducks sometimes struggle to pick up leaves.

 

Kale has 2 g of protein per cup.

 

Fluffiest Feathers Ever!

We carry this dietary supplement in the Living The Good Life with Backyard Chickens store.

 

It’s 28% protein, and chickens LOVE it.

 

We feed it separately or sometimes mixed with their feed, and it doesn’t stay in their feed bowl very long!

 

You can learn more about Fluffiest Feathers Ever right here.

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Will we have new chicks??? Confessions from the Coop (TM)

Will we have new chicks??? Confessions from the Coop (TM)

It finally happened (backyard chicken style).

 

The baby bantams have started laying!

 

My buff cochin hens have started laying the tiniest, perfect brown eggs.

 

I KNOW they’re fertile (thanks to my silkie roosters!), so I’m going to start collecting to hatch them.

 

How cute will that be?

 

Out of all my chickens, the cochin bantams are the friendliest, so having more of them would be fun.

 

They’re also very smart — perfect for any chicken flock!

 

 

They’ll start getting more Best Eggs Ever! which has extra calcium (oyster shells AND oat straw!) so they’re able to lay healthy eggs with strong shells.

 

Want to know whether your young chickens have started laying? Go here!

 

Speaking of hatching eggs, we’re almost on Day 10 of this latest hatch in the Brinsea incubator.

 

I haven’t checked the eggs yet, but I probably will tonight – keep your fingers crossed that we have lots of little embryos!

 

I can’t believe how fast the ducklings grew – they’re almost the same size as full grown adults now! I’ve mostly been feeding them Fluffiest Feathers Ever! mixed with Brewer’s Yeast – lots of protein and vitamins!

duckling backyard chicken flock

5 Backyard Chicken Friendly High Protein Treats For Fall

5 Backyard Chicken Friendly High Protein Treats For Fall

As the days get shorter, and your backyard chickens begin to molt, you might want to supplement their diet with high protein treats.

 

And luckily, there’s lots of options!

 

Molting is a normal process in the fall – it’s when chickens start losing their feathers to regrow new ones.

 

By the time it’s super chilly, most chickens will have grown a new set of feathers, and they’ll be ready for winter (some DO take a bit longer though!)

 

To get them into great shape, decrease boredom, and give them extra calories as the cold sets in, you can supplement their diet with extra high-protein treats.

 

And you might even have some on hand!

 

Here’s 5 high protein treats backyard chickens (and ducks!) LOVE – and they’re great for fall!

 

Eggs

Yep, you can feed chickens eggs. No, it’s not weird and it’s not cannibalism.

 

In nature, they go for them (it IS protein, after all). When they’re bored, they go for them.

 

And unless there’s a chicken IN the eggs (which there isn’t without incubation), it’s definitely not a case of chickens eating their brethren.

 

Eggs are also a GREAT source of protein (and the shells are a perfect source of calcium for your chickens).

 

You can scramble the eggs, cook them over easy, or hard boil them. It doesn’t matter – your flock will be clucking happy to eat them!

 

When cooked, eggs are less likely to turn your backyard chickens into egg eaters.

 

You can also mix them with any of the other treats on this list.

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

If eggs aren’t your flock’s thing, then you can try black soldier fly larvae.

 

You can buy them dried right here or you can create your own farm – they’re remarkably easy to farm, and they’ll live in anything.

 

(Recently, we discovered a BSFL farm in my truck bed, where some grain had spilled. Totally disgusting and proof they’ll hatch anywhere.

 

We had NO idea they established residence until some torrential downpours caused them to jump ship. Let’s just say the hens were VERY happy for a few days).

 

If farming black soldier fly larvae isn’t your deal, then you can always go with dried ones – hens love them either way!

 

Black soldier fly larvae are about 40% protein.

 

Brewer’s Yeast

It’s not something you typically associate with protein, but brewer’s and nutritional yeast is FULL of protein – they’re both about 40% protein.

 

You can mix brewer’s yeast with your flock’s regular feed, or with a special treat you’ve created for them (such as the eggs or black soldier fly larvae above).

 

It’s probably best to mix it with something else. It’s full of protein but also powdery – so adding it to food with texture will help your chickens enjoy their treat more.

 

You can buy it in our store here, and it’s mixed with garlic, oregano, and echinacea – all herbs traditionally used to support healthy immune systems in chickens.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are also full of protein – and hens LOOOOOVVVEEE them!

 

You might have heard that pumpkin seeds can help prevent and expel worms. While the jury is still out on that, the bottom line is that chickens love snacking on them.

 

And pumpkin itself is full of vitamins and minerals to help your backyard chickens stay healthy!

 

So, the seeds definitely can’t hurt, and they just might help! Just be sure to offer smaller seeds to they’re easy for your chickens to swallow and digest.

 

You can mix pumpkin seeds with herbs – consider chili and paprika.

 

Chili has been shown in studies to help expel worms (the parasites object to the spiciness) and paprika can help with turning yolks that gorgeous golden color we’re all looking for!

 

Sunflower Seeds with Herbs & Dried Berries

Sunflower seeds are another high protein treat for fall.

 

Any type of sunflower seed will work, but black oil sunflower seeds seem to get backyard chickens clucking more than other ones.

 

Like pumpkin seeds, you can mix them with herbs like garlic, or even the brewer’s yeast we mentioned above.

 

A third option is to mix them with gelatin and mold the entire mixture into shapes.

 

You can then hang the treat in their coop and watch them go nuts!

 

If your flock isn’t sure what to do with the sunflower seeds, consider mixing them with red berries, such as strawberries.

 

The red color will attract your backyard chickens, and they’ll naturally peck to see what it’s all about! From there, they’ll start to understand the seeds are a treat!