Boy oh Boy, is it cold where you live? Here in Missouri our highs have been in the upper teens and we are expecting some negative number lows this week.
Had to break down yesterday and get a second heated waterer... makes you wonder if you really need all of these chickens and separate coops lol.... of course, it was a fleeting thought - I know that I do!
In addition to making sure the girls have fresh, unfrozen water there are a few treats that you can give them to help them stay a bit warmer in these brutal temperatures.
- Cracked corn/scratch grains. Although these aren't good in abundance, they do help get the digestion working which, in turn, helps to keep the hen warmer. A diet of only corn and scratch will not give the birds all of their needed vitamins and minerals to stay healthy, but as a treat, it can be just what they need! On really cold days I give both my standard and bantam pens some cracked corn just to help them keep that internal fire churning.
- Scrambled eggs. A warm meal that they will enjoy is scrambled eggs! And yes, they can be their own eggs if you're lucky enough to be getting any during the winter. Scrambled eggs will provide much needed protein that will help them store energy and will warm them up on the coldest of days. So, if they seem a bit lethargic, losing weight or cold - feed them some scrambled eggs!
- Oatmeal. My flock LOVES warm oatmeal! Just warm up 1 cup of oats and 1 3/4 cups of water. The oatmeal can be topped with all kinds of things! Whatever you happen to have available will work: bananas, maple syrup, raisins, sunflower seeds, berries, mealworms... all favorites in my coops!
- Homemade Suet Treats. Suet blocks are a great way to add healthy fats to your chickens diet, thereby helping to keep them warm during the coldest part of the winter. These are a lot of fun to put together and can be made of just about anything that you have in the pantry.
The suet is what binds the ingredients together. Choose natural fats such as tallow, lard, meat drippings, coconut oil or peanut butter. Chickens are not able to consume high amounts of salt and when high amounts are consumed it becomes toxic, so bacon grease should be used sparingly. I prefer to use either coconut oil, hamburger grease or low sodium peanut butter.
Choose healthy ingredients for your suet such as:
- Whole Grains - wheat, barley, oats
- Seeds - flax, millet, black oil sunflower seeds
- Whole or cracked corn
- Dried Fruits
- Dried Herbs - Oregano, thyme, sage
- Dried Bugs - mealworms, grubs, soldier fly larvae
2 cups of peanut butter (or suet of choice)
1/2 cup black oil sunflower seeds
1/4 cup of flax seeds
2 cups of Oats
1/4 cup of raisins
5 tablespoons of mealworms
Muffin tin (or silicone mold)
1. Melt the oil or soften the peanut butter
2. Add the ingredients
3. Place all ingredients into muffin tins
4. Cover with a dishtowel and allow to harden
5. Remove from tins and give to your flock