Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chicken Snacks and Treats

Cherries and Cherry Tomatoes

Chicken Snacks and Treats

  Today I felt so badly for my little flock of chickens.. It is soooo rainy and yucky that I have had to pen the girls into their covered outside run. This sounds alright enough.. except that the run is only about 6ft by 4ft... And with 2 territorial mother hen type hens, one jumbo sized food processing chicken hybrid, and 3 little feathered "everything else" disposal units... this can be stressful..

Solution!  Food.

I went and gathered a bit or parsley, kale, swiss chard, cantaloupe, lettuce and a handful of cherry tomatoes from the green house and chopped them into chicken friendly bits.  I also cooked up an eggplant that just wasn't as pretty as the others.. and scrambled an egg.  And topped the whole thing off with some cooked and moooshed sweet potatoes.

I know, I know, that's a lot of food! But.. these are chickens... :)

I often get asked the question.. "Isn't feeding an egg to a chicken like cannibalism?" 
Yes and no...

Yes if:
The egg has been fertilized and an embryo has started to form. This doesn't happen overnight. I can remember that it takes 21 days for a chick to hatch...  but I also know that it takes at least 6 days before the chick in that egg starts to look like anything other than a ball of DNA. I don't wait 6 days to refrigerate my eggs. and refrigerating a fertilized egg right away will kill anything inside it. So basically, its not likely that you'll cook up one of these babies.. (sorry bad pun) anytime soon.. :) 

No if:
This is an unfertilized egg. (No rooster) The goo that you find inside of an egg was meant for a baby chick to eat. It is essentially the same as if the hen that laid that egg packed a lunch for her chick but when no chick was created, I got to eat the lunch instead.  cool huh?


The treat ball

The treat ball was a great idea... I just don't think the girls think so.. They would rather peck and scratch at all the other goodies that have been scattered about their yard. Ah well. I get it. Why work for your food when its readily available and so close you can lay down and eat at the same time.. (seriously, Honey eats this way.. "The-Jumbo-Food-Processing-Chicken-Hybrid Honey")

Chicken Soccer Ball
Ah yes, The chicken soccer ball. Fill this baby up with peas and watch them go! Well,.. fill this baby up, show the chickens that its nothing to be afraid of, chase them around the yard trying to to show them where the treats come out, and finally plop down and let the pile of peas fall out while the girls run over to help clean the mess. :)  Smart chickens.. or Lazy.. 

Chicken egg shells.. Crush 'em up and throw some out there! I like to have a little bowl filled with shells. I am trying to finish off this 25lb bag of oyster shell that I bought. ugh. So I mix a little oyster with the egg shell and give it back to the girls. I think they like the chicken shells better. weird huh?

Oh! I got a bag of meal worms to give as snacks to the girls.. LOVED THEM! The bag was red so now every time I go out with something red on or in my hands, the girls are jumping.. literally jumping to get at whatever it is. So now, among other things, I am going to be a meal worm farmer. :/
From what I hear, its as easy as putting food scraps into a 3-tier shelf thing once a day... I will investigate more on this!

Most everything I have tried with the girls gets eaten.. However, the eggplant took forever for them to go through... For the most part, I think the rule is if you would eat it, so would they.. :) Of course there are exceptions..  

1. Raw potatoes and potato sprouts. Raw potatoes are hard for chickens to digetst while the green parts of potatoes and the sprouts are toxic.

2. Rotten food. duh.

3. Raw peanuts and dried beans. (Dried beans are safe if they're cooked first.) Raw meat too...

4. Chocolate.

5. Some garden plant leaves such as eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes

6. Nicotine is poisonous.

7. Avocados. These can be fatal for your chickens.

8. Some types of flower seeds such as sweet peas, morning glories and angel's trumpet.

Have a wonderful day, you beautiful person, you!

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