Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cutting back on Treats

I've GOT to cut back on the treats I give my girls.  It's gotten out of hand.  And I have no one to blame but myself.

I've always given them some sort of treat each day.  It's so much fun to watch them get all excited and readily take things out of my hands.  And then I started giving them a treat each morning to keep them quiet.  And then a treat at the end of the day when I'd go spend some time with them.  I started giving them a little bit more of a treat when Pumpkin started pecking at Ginger.  I thought I wasn't giving them enough.  Or that if I gave them more, Ginger would have more of a chance to get enough.

Well, regardless, it's become out of control.  I read a posting by someone the other day.  They had gone on vacation for the week and when they returned, they hens higher up in the pecking order had bullied one of the lower hens.  She had lost all her feathers on her neck and she was bloody and raw.  He felt that this was the result of the hens not getting as many treats from the chicken sitter as they were getting from the owners.

I don't want this to happen in my flock and I would never expect a sitter to give them the amount of attention I give my girls.  Not to mention, they really should be eating their feed as their primary source of food.  There's a reason it's balanced nutrition and it's good for them.  Treats need to be just that.  A treat.

So this morning I didn't give them anything and they gave me an earful about it.  I did cave a touch and put a scoop of their feed into their treat bowl.  They took one look at that and started back in giving me an earful.  I know they won't go hungry and ultimately, they will be better for this.  But it's killing me today.

I know some people have put out hard blocks of seeds that the hens really have to work at to get food and maybe it's time to resort to one of those for them.  Anything else I put out there, they just scarf it down.  But I worry again that they will just spend the entire day working a the treat block and not eating their feed.

Any of you had this problem?  Anyone tried one of those treat blocks for your hens?  Any thoughts?


  1. Hi Flock Mistress,
    I bought one of those treat blocks.... it cost $10.+, was hard as a brick, it was in the the run for days and the girls could not manage it. We took it out and smashed it with a hammer into fine pieces. Put it back into the run, they still were not impressed with it. I would not buy it again. Just sharing my experience with it.
    Good luck...love your blog and spice girls!

  2. Okay. That's good to know.

    The scoop of feed I put in their treat bowl yesterday was a different brand than what is in their feeder. And their bowl was pecked clean last night. So I'm thinking they don't like the last bag of food I bought.

    I ran out at lunch and picked up a bag of the stuff that's in their treat bowl and I'm going to load up their feeder w/ that tonight. The girls seem so much calmer last night and this morning. So I think they just hated their food and were not getting enough to eat and were hungry. Thus the loud squawking and pecking.

    Hopefully, it was simply that simple.