DIY suet blocks for poultry are ideal during molting season. Suet cakes for chickens and other birds encourages and promotes feather growth. Not to mention, your poultry team will love this delicious treat item.
Molting is a natural occurrence for poultry, wild and pet birds and generally happens once a year. The poultry molting season generally occurs at the beginning of fall and can last for months. A minor molt will leave the bird with very little feather loss, however, a heavy molt causes the bird to lose an extreme amount of feathers and become severely bare.
Chicken keepers worldwide hope their flock regrow their feathers quickly, but as mentioned above it can take months. Is there anything which can be done to promote feather growth? Absolutely!
Offering a high protein snack item in addition to a balanced feed promotes feather growth. High protein suet cakes can be made for both, molting birds as well as for chicks.
Suet for Chickens and Other Poultry
This suet cake is high in protein, which makes it ideal for molting season. Each item serves a purpose but can be eliminated, substituted, or doubled.
- Whole grain feed – Whole grains are an extremely healthy option for poultry and contain a 19% crude protein. Not to mention, they hold their shape extremely well in a suet cake making it easier for the chickens to consume them.
- Black oil sunflower seeds – BOSS contains 16% protein and also holds up well in DIY suet blocks for poultry.
- Grubs – Dried meal worms can be substituted for grubs, however grubs do hold up better. Not to mention, dried grubs contain roughly 38% protein.
- Herbs – Beneficial herbs such as dried oregano, thyme, sage, astragalus root boosts the immune system. During molting season the immune system is compromised, adding herbs to poultry’s daily ensures the immune system is up to par.
- Suet – Suet is fat, more times than not, animal fat. Lard, tallow, meat drippings, and even bacon grease (due to the level of salt in bacon it is best used when mixed with another natural fat item). Coconut oil can also be used in place of animal fat. It is the suet that holds the ingredients into place.
Dried fruit and unsalted nuts can also be added. For example, raisins, cranberries, and dried apples are good choices.
Suet Cakes for Chicks
Suet cakes for chicks are ideal for chick brooders. These little treats help to minimize boredom while offering a good source of protein for growing chicks. The suet cakes can be hung or strapped inside the brooder using chicken wire. Here are tips for setting up a chick brooder to ensure you have everything ready for the arrival of your little feathered dinosaurs!
- Whole grain chick feed
- Unsalted sunflower seeds (shelled) or BOSS for older chicks
- Herbs (begin building the immune system the moment your team arrives)
- Suet fat
Here’s a few tips and tricks on offering and making DIY suet blocks for poultry:
- Suet cakes draw rodents. It is best to pick up any unwanted blocks and store them in the freezer, placing them out again the next day.
- To minimize the amount of time spent making these treats, make large quantities at a time and offer them as often as you’d like.
- Using dried ingredients is best, fresh items (fruit, berries, herbs) can cause the fat to go rancid quickly.
- Scratch grains can be used in place of a whole grain feed.
DIY Suet Blocks for Poultry
Grab the kids and make these DIY suet blocks together! Teach the kids math as they measure the ingredients, also talk about the importance of a balanced diet and good animal husbandry.
2 cups coconut oil, or suet of choice
1/2 cups black oil sunflower seeds
2 cups whole grains
1/4 cups raisins
5 tablespoons dried grubs
suet holder, or rope
Melt the coconut oil or suet until it is liquid
Add the ingredients
Place all ingredients into silicone mold
Cover with a dish towel and allow to harden
Remove from the silicone mold and place into the suet holder
You will enjoy making this for your flock as much as your poultry will enjoy consuming it!
Ann Accetta-Scott homesteads on two acres in Washington state, raising poultry, goats, and rabbits. She is an educator and encourage of all who are seeking to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Ann is also the face behind the website A Farm Girl in the Making and author of The Farm Girl’s Guide to Preserving the Harvest.
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