Bleak, chilly days and less opportunity to forage can give farm animals the winter doldrums. The presence of hawks, combined with reduced foliage for cover, means our chickens simply can’t be left to free range between November and March as much as they’d prefer.
My 9 year-old and I decided to whip up some “chicken Christmas cookies” to cheer up our flock. Fun to make and easy as can be, they were a huge hit with our birds. Then the sheep and goats got in on the party as well! Everything we needed we readily found in the cupboard, with the exception of the pumpkin guts, which I scraped from the inside of one of our Connecticut field pumpkins that was disintegrating in the garden. Of course, you don’t have to use pumpkin innards — raisins, berries, and black oil sunflower seeds are all excellent options as well. Not only are they nutritious and delicious, the key to great chicken treats is giving them the fun of pecking at stuff!
Here’s what you need:
- 2 cups plain oatmeal
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- scoop of pumpkin innards w/seeds (optional)
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Mix first six ingredients together in bowl until well stirred, then add pumpkin. After well mixed, spoon onto cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow 10 minutes to cook, then serve to eager chickens!