Winter "Suet" balls?

Our Roost

9 Years
Jan 13, 2011
ScottsVille, michigan
With the winter months settling in, we have been thinking of treats for our chickens to offset the lack of free ranging and green from their daily foraging. I know most feed stores carry suet balls for bird feeders and such. We were looking for ideas to do something similar for chickens. We have stocked up on cabbage heads but they wont last forever. My chickens love sunflower seeds, dried fruits, nuts and such. Any thoughts or ideas?
You could get some apples and dry them whole. They might well keep all winter. Toss them in to the chickens.

Down south, we have green weeds for the chickens all winter long.

Have you had a look at:

I'm new to chicken keeping, but a very keen gardener. The systems that others seem to be using may be necessary for large flocks, but for my three girls I've just started using a very home-made system. When you buy 6 or 10 bedding plants in mini pots from the garden centre, you get them in a 'holder' - a basket with a large hole mesh bottom. I've put 4 layers of kitchen roll in the bottom of the basket, soaked wheat seeds overnight and put them in a thick layer on the kitchen roll. Each day I run a bit of fresh water over them, and put them back on a tray on top of the fridge, close to a window for the light. They're just sprouting, and with a bit of luck in a week or so they'll be ready for the girls to eat. I'm probably being a bit premature - we're still only getting an occasional overnight frost here in south-west France, but I'm hoping that if it works now I'll be able to keep giving them greens if we get a snowy winter. My girls are extremely spoiled, but once their choice of foraging is limited I'm sure they'll thank me for the extra greens!
I like this kind of thinking! I actually have 21 chickens so I have a bit more work cut out for me than you do. I dont want my chickens to get bored and find themselves cooped up with cabin fever over the winter months. I felt suet balls would be a way to keep them amused pecking for treats and such that they dont normally get in their feed. I'm going to try dried fruits and nuts high in protein. I suppose if birds can eat animal fats or suet, so can chickens. I am also buying cabbage heads but dont know how long they will keep before rotting.
Don't remember if it was this forum or another, but I found a recipe for making bird blocks, and kinda tweeked it.

seeds, I use
sunflower/oat/millet/mixed/ (whatever seed I can find and mix it up)
old bread crumbled
some of their crumbles
whatever else you want to add, keep in mind tho, the above doesn't spoil to fast

Mix it together, I then add molasses to bind it. I baked small loaf size blocks at 350 for about 30 minutes, I then vac sealed them
I also have baked them in cupcake tins..
I am making suet squares as I write this. I use a little bit of pork lard, lots of peanut butter, mixed birdseed, a scoop of wheat flour, dried cranberries, raisings, and chopped peanuts. I freeze it in a Tupperware sandwich container and it fits perfectly in a square suet feeder that I have for the birds. It is extremely funny to watch them pick through the squares as it hangs. Kept them busy for two whole days.
You could get some apples and dry them whole. They might well keep all winter. Toss them in to the chickens.
Down south, we have green weeds for the chickens all winter long.
Chris, I have plenty of green weeds. Do you know if dollarweed and broad leaf plantains are safe to feed chickens? Do you know of any that are poisionous?
Winter Squash.......Pumpkins in particular. Especially all those that are great for carving and bad for pie. Personally, I m the only one in my house that will actually eat squash (excepting pie) so all the squash I grow, and pumpkins I decorate with would go to waste without the birds help. If you have winter squash that keeps for a long time, just cut one in half periodically and throw it in with them. Pumpkins I can find in the country at various farmers roadsides for super cheap.....$.10 or $.25 each. They make good dog treats or food also. And the seeds are great for roasting and eating...or likewise feeding to the animals.

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