Chickens are notoriously non-picky eaters. They will consume everything from crickets and worms to blades of grass and seeds, so they do love their treats. However, even though chickens can eat about anything and probably will, the number of special treats they get should be limited. Chickens should be given a diet that primarily consists of healthy veggies and grains, and a lot of owners offer a diet that consists mainly of corn. Treats like yogurt, cracked corn, and even mealworms are all things your chickens will love. Yet, there is a line to how many treats would be too many, and too many treats can have negative consequences on your flock's overall health. Here are a few signs your chickies are getting a little too indulged with treats.
There is a change in your chickens' laying patterns or egg quality.
When chickens have a consistently healthy diet, their eggs are also reliably consistent in quality. This is because egg quality is directly relative to the overall health of the chicken. If you start noticing that the eggshells from your chickens are thinner, misshapen, or otherwise flawed, it's something to pay attention to. Likewise, if the chicken's eggs are not being steadily produced, it could be a sign they are overeating.
There is a change in the condition of your chickens' legs and feet.
When chickens gain weight, it puts undue stress on their legs and feet. Unfortunately, this extra stress can make it hard for the chicken to remain mobile. Therefore, you may recognize that your chickens just don't seem as active as they should be. In some cases, changes to the legs and feet will be quite noticeable. For example, if your chicken starts having a lot of issues with bumblefoot, it could be because of the extra weight they are carrying causing ruptures in their feet to allow in bacteria.
There is a change in your chickens' temperament.
If chickens don't feel well, they will be much more touchy and irritable, much like any other animal. If you do not mess with your chickens a lot, or you don't consider your flock to be tamed, you may never notice a change in their attitudes. However, if you do know your chickens to be tame, fairly docile and easygoing, and sociable and that changes, it could be a sign that they do not feel well overall. Making a change in the frequency of treats they are getting can yield a pretty quick change in their temperament once they feel better physically.
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