With winter on its way we thought we’d share last year’s post on warming winter treats for chickens. Remember, when the weather gets cold the extra calories in treats will help keep your hens warm and happy.
Anyone who has seen chickens knows how much they love scratching around for tasty morsels but when winter comes your chooks might have trouble finding enough food to keep them occupied.
But have no fear, there are plenty of tempting treats you can give your chickens in addition to their usual food that will keep them entertained, not to mention warm, right through until spring.
Here are some of our favourite titbits for chickens in the winter:
A brilliant breakfast!
Breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day just for humans – chickens also feel the benefit of a healthy, filling breakfast. Try mixing a small handful of porridge oats, a large portion of their usual pellets, and some warm water to make a nutritious warm mash.
Winter weight gain!
Just like people chickens tend eat more fatty foods in the winter so keep foods like bacon rind and fatty meat trimmings for your chooks to peck at.
In moderation fatty scraps are a good source of protein and will help your flock keep at a healthy weight when it gets cold. Another good source of protein is mealworms which you can find at the majority of pet shops.
Corn keeps you warm!
As well as feeding a warm mash at breakfast time you can also feed your chickens a small amount of corn before shutting them up for the night. A handful of corn will fill them up and keep them warm overnight which can be especially useful when the temperature really drops.
Try it “on the cob”, canned, raw, and cooked until you find your flocks’ favourite!
One of your five a day!
With the grass and plants gone for the winter it’s important to make sure your hens still get enough fruit and veg to keep them healthy.
You can also turn feeding time into a form of entertainment by hanging veg such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower in their chicken run. Not only will they get important nutrients they’ll also have fun pecking at the veg all day.
A word about water…
Although this post is about winter food for chickens poultry keepers often find that they have a harder job keeping their chickens hydrated, rather than full, during the winter.
Try wrapping the water drinker in bubble wrap, insulating foam, or felt to stop it freezing overnight. You can also add slightly warm water to the drinker in the morning to keep it from freezing during the day.
Some poultry keepers also remove the water at night and replace it when they let their flock out in the morning. Many chicken keepers report that their chickens don’t drink at night so this might be the answer if you can’t find a way of preventing the water from freezing.
Stay tuned this afternoon to see a brilliant warm mash recipe from our friends at Hedgerow Henporium!
Image source: Backyardchickens.com