Winter can be a dull time for chickens. It’s wet and unlike the geese, the rain doesn’t bounce off, so within an hour or so everyone is bedraggled.
Feet are muddy and until we move to our new home the grass has long gone, scratched away to a barren wasteland and Mr Mole has chomped his way through all the worms!
We love our winter treats, so do the chickens. The final vegtables like cauliflowers go into the coop along with tomatoes and pumpkins. Scrambled eggs are a huge protein treat once a week and our local granary provides a mix bag of grains and dried peas.
Warm oats can be given in moderation. They can be quite glutenous and therefore I tend to mix them into the flock block and only give my girls as porridge a couple of time a month.
Daily is a complete pellet feed for layers mixed with wheat grains and ground maize/corn depending on which side of the pond you live. The maize is normally eaten more in the evening before bed to build heat and keep the chicken full overnight. It has little nutrient on its own. But the girls like it like I occasionally like McDonalds.
Chickens need around 16% protein to provide eggs and build the shell of the egg every 24 hours. It’s a long process and any sign of illness is quickly reflected in the quality of the egg laid, be it brittle shells or soft shells, elongated eggs or dirty eggs.
But back to treats. Here is a recipe for a great peck block. The girls get a variety of tastes…savoury, sweet, acidic and a bit of social interaction together. Putting a few blocks into the run will mean top chickens can’t monopolize and everyone is happy.
So ingredients: simple basic mug measurements. No time for scales here.
- 2 mugs of cracked corn.
- 1 mug of mixed seeds and split peas. Whatever you have to hand.
- Half a cup of wheat and barley grains.
- A mug of meal worms.
- Half a mug of crushed egg shells.
- Half a cup of organic coconut oil.
- A large tablespoon of black strap mollases.
- Fruit. Ideally fresh fruit like cherries or berries, banana or apple.
Melt the coconut oil and add the mollases. Stir in all the other ingredients and warm gently over a low heat till all combined. It starts to smell wonderful.
Pour into a lined baking tray and press down to consolidate. Then in a low heat, bake for 30 minutes. It’s really to ensure the mixture is sterilized and will keep for a week and like any baking, it creates a better flavour and bonds the ingredients together.
Leave to cool, and go treat your girls.
Crushed egg shells. I dry mine out on top of the wood burner, then crush.
Warming all the ingredients.
Into a warm oven for 30 minutes.
Cooled and ready to peck!