Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Frozen chicken treat for a hot day (super easy!)

It's been hot here lately. The unreal kind of hot that makes you want to just lay in the air conditioning and not move. Unfortunately for chickens that's not an option and since summer is here to stay, I had to figure out a way to keep the chickens cool in this extreme heat. I decided to make them a frozen chickens treat that I had seen on a chicken forum.  

One of the biggest problems in summer is dehydration which makes the heat so much more unbearable! People can remember to drink extra water, but animals usually don't drink more then they immediately need. Sometimes, they have to be tricked into it.


cold chicken treats

Luckily I have a plan for that. I just freeze some treats in a container of water so as they pecked and ate, they got some added hydration! 

A homemade chicken treat that's cheap and easy to make!

I put pieces of shredded lettuce, fruit, some veggies, a few pieces of dog kibble and some scratch in a large Tupperware container with some crushed ice (to separate it) I added cold water and froze it till it was solid. When I took it out to the chickens they started pecking it as soon as I set it down. lol I finally got it flipped over and out of the container.


chicken treats frozen

They attacked it again, I barely got a picture! They loved it and finished it in a matter of minutes. It was great to give them a cold treat on a hot day. I'll be making this for them on all the really hot days now! 

I should add that in my usual 'frugal style' (I like that, sounds better then cheap, right?) I use all fruit and veggies that were no longer fit for for human consumption. The outer leaves of a head of lettuce, a tomato that had gone soft, the last few bits of a bag salad, mushy blueberries, some grapes that started bruising on the stem ends...you get the idea. 

You could also use left over cooked veggies. That's a win-win situation, leftovers get used up and the chickens get a cold treat! You could also make these in smaller containers like ice cube trays if you're chickens have a problem sharing. That way everyone can get their own!

Lisa over at Fresh Eggs Daily adds mint to her frozen ice cube treats to take advantage of mint's cooling properties. It's a really great idea! After seeing that, I started adding mint to the frozen treats when I make them and the chickens love it. Whatever you decide to add, I'm sure your flock will really appreciate a batch of frozen treats on a hot day! 

If you have ducks, they love diving for frozen peas! Of course ducks usually don't have much trouble staying cool as long as they have a pool to swim in! 

How do you keep your chickens cool?

~L

Currently (update: 2016) there is some debate as to whether you should put corn in these types of summer treats. Many people feed cracked corn to their chickens in winter believing that it helps them to produce body heat thus staying warmer in winter. It would only make sense that corn would do the same thing in summer so you would obviously avoid it.

Of course there's always disagreement these days and lots of arguing saying it doesn't work that way. Unfortunately it does. You cannot change the way a body metabolizes a food based on the season it's consumed in. For that reason alone, I now suggest leaving out the corn from summer treats especially on the hot days.