Do you cook for your chickens? Or do you just feed them scratch, kitchen scraps, and some seeds every now and again? If you don’t cook for your flock, you should, there are MANY things that you can make for them, and many reasons why.
I try to cook for my flock at least once or twice monthly. Their favorite treat is scrambled eggs, weird, I know. I also frequently bake dog treats which are often chicken friendly. Cooking for my chickens isn’t just out of boredom, I plan my cooking around the needs of the flock. Just as some parents will sneak some cauliflower into their children’s mashed potatoes to give them that extra serving of veggies, I have a similar method for my chickens.
The number one reason that I cook up some scrambled eggs for my girls is a drop in egg production. I will mix in cayenne pepper with the eggs, as this helps to increase their internal body temperature and jump start their laying process. This usually occurs in fall and winter, and cooking for them helps me stay in eggs all year long.
I will also cook for them if I need to medicate or deworm the flock. If you choose this method of medicating your birds, be sure that the cooking process (ie. heat) will not affect the medication that you are using. If your medication can be altered via cooking, another option may be to add it to their water source or possibly infusing it into some fruit (my girls enjoy watermelon).
Cooking for the chooks and giving them special treats also helps me to bond with them. All of my chickens, sans Django, will eat out of my hand, because I take the time to cook and feed them extra treats. This makes checking everyone’s health and well-being much easier when you have chickens who associate you with food and come to your presence.
Finally, I cook for my chickens just because I like to. I worked at a dog bakery during college, and learned many recipes that I use for both my dogs and my chickens. In the summer, I make them “popsicles” out of pureed watermelon and banana, in the winter, I will make them pumpkin and sweet potato mash and cookies. My chickens are very hoggish and appreciate anything that I bake for them. They’re really the best clients, as are my dogs, they don’t complain that something isn’t sweet enough, or is the wrong consistency, they just eat 🙂
I have included some of my chicken recipes below…
Scrambled Eggs for Laying
– one egg per bird, is my rule of thumb
– thin with 2-3 T ACV, a probiotic
– add ~2-4 T cayenne pepper (usually less in warmer months, more in cooler)
– 2 T fresh thyme
– really, the addition of any fresh herbs you have to this (as long as they are chicken safe) is excellent
Sweet Potato Mash
– cook & mash one sweet potato
– mix in 1/8c flax seeds & 4 T chia seeds
– this one is easy to medicate since the sweetness of the potatoes covers up the medication