Maybe I am just a crazy chicken lady, but I feel like my birds deserve a little more than boring dry feed each day so I make special homemade suet treats for them to enjoy. My chickens love to see me coming to their pen with these little morsels.
The treats that I make are nutritious for the birds and they help keep the flock warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The winter treats contain coconut oil or grease and extra corn to give an extra boost of fat and protein that help to keep the birds active and warm. The summertime treats are made with ice base for a refreshing respite from the hot weather.
These homemade suet treats give the birds a healthy treat that doubles as a fun toy AND I save money by not buying pre-made treats at the store. Want to make your own? Read on, my friend 🙂
Homemade Suet Treats for Your Backyard Birds
1) Gather The Ingredients
Start out by gathering any ingredients that your birds enjoy. Some of the favorites at our house include:
- Research which seeds you would benefit your flock the most. Different seeds provide different levels of fat, vitamins, and Omega-3s. I prefer to feed Black Oil Sunflower Seeds and Flax Seeds.
- Oats contain a mix of vitamins & nutrients that have been shown to improve health & reduce aggression in laying hens. You can read more about the benefits of oats here.
- Use caution when adding whole beans to your treats. They need to be properly heated to kill a toxin that could be fatal to your birds. Soybeans re my favorite to add to my homemade suet treats because they have very high levels of lysine and methionine, which are essential for poultry growth & production.
- Peas, like soybeans, have high lysine levels…BUT…unlike beans, peas can be added to poultry diets without prior heating or processing.
- Corn is a good source of protein & energy for laying hens and it is the easiest grain for birds to digest. Add more corn to your treats in the winter and less in the warmer months.
- Dried Fruits
- Make sure that the fruit has no added sugar and that seeds and pits are removed. Citrus fruit should also be avoided…this one is controversial, but I’ll stick to the safe side.
- I like to mix coconut oil with bacon grease. Use this if you are giving treats in colder weather.
- Coconut Oil has a TON of benefits for flock health. It is anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial. It improves circulation & the immune system. That’s just taking the tip off the ‘ol iceberg, y’all. If you don’t keep coconut oil on hand, no worries… Leftover cooking grease is fine to feed.
- Use this in place of grease & oil if you are giving the treats in the spring & summer to keep your birds cool.
2) Spray a Mini Muffin Pan
These treats don’t really stick because you are using oil as the main ingredients, but I didn’t want to chance it so I sprayed cooking oil to be safe.
You can also use a regular baking pan or loaf pan if you want bricks for a hanging feeder instead of individual treats.
3) Fill It Up
Place your dry ingredients into the wells of the pan.
Fill each well about 2/3 full with your melted (not cooked) oil/grease or water.
4) Solidify the Cakes
Place your filled pan in the fridge to let the oil solidify. This takes about 30 minutes to an hour depending on the type of grease or oil that you chose. If you are making summer treats with ice, place your pan in the freezer.
5) Store in the Freezer
Pop the solid treats out of the pan and store them in the freezer in a plastic container or a zip loc bag. They will keep for several months in the freezer. I have some winter treats from 2 months ago that are still good as new! Just be sure to leave them in the freezer until you are ready to feed them or they will start to melt.
6) Serve ’em Up!
Throw a couple of your homemade suet treats out to your barnyard birds and watch them gobble ’em up! Seriously, they love these things! Let me know if your chickens are fans and what you use in your treats!
Are you ready to make some yummy & healthy homemade suet treats for your birds?