We’ve had our chickens for two years now and I have to say that each day I walk out to gather their eggs and feel blessed with the plethora of eggs and the welcome company. Because our chickens are providing my family with essential nutrition, I want them to be as happy as possible – so I give them a very balanced diet and go out of my way to spoil them. They get to lazily graze on fresh grasses and insects, as well as fresh vegetables and fruits. To thank them for their eggs, ever so often I make them little treats of suet snack for them.
These suet snacks are based on some of their favorite foods and I combine them with coconut oil to bind them together for added nutrition. Coconut oil is a great binding ingredient and also promotes health. It’s also good for their feathers. You can use any natural oil, even pan drippings if that is what you have on hand. Suet or beef fat trimmings from a local butcher is also an inexpensive option and butchers will usually give it away for free. If you are using this option, here is how to render the suet:
- Chop the fat into small pieces or run it through a meat grinder. If you are getting the fat from a butcher, they may be willing to do this for you. Be sure all traces of meat are removed.
- Heat the chopped fat on low until it is liquefied. Do not use higher temperatures to melt the suet more quickly, as this could lead to fires or scorching.
- Strain the liquid fat through cheesecloth or a fine mesh to remove any particles or contaminants. The suet should be strained several times so it is as pure as possible.
- Pour the fat into molds or containers and allow it to cool. The cakes can be chopped or cut to be fed to the birds, or you may choose to use containers that are the appropriate size to fit your suet feeders.
Homemade Suet Treats For Chickens
To make homemade chicken suets, pick your ingredients based upon what your birds need most. Some of their favorite treats include:
- Sprouted greens (wheat grass, grains, clover, alfalfa, mung beans, radish, mustard, grains, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, etc.)
- Fresh young clover
- Dandelions (natural diuretic)
- Pumpkin seeds (natural dewormer)
- Squash seeds (natural dewormer)
- Dried fruits
- Old fashioned oatmeal
- Dried meal worms
- Scratch grains
- Chicken feed
- Chick feed (if you have chicks)
- Garlic (great for health and deters external parasites)
- Oregano (natural antibiotic properties)
- Melt suet in a saucepan over low heat. Allow it to cool thoroughly, then reheat it.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Allow the suet to cool until slightly thickened, then stir it into the mixture in the bowl. Mix thoroughly.
- Pour into pie pan or form, or pack into cookie sized molds.
If your girls love these treats as much as mine do, they will not last long in your poultry yard. It’s rewarding to watch them happily breaking apart the suets and nibbling on them.