This time of year everyone needs a pick me up. Something that’s packed full of energy, is filling and nutritious but feels like a cheat day. Even our livestock need this comfort food and for our chickens, it’s all about flock blocks.
So what is a flock block? It’s basically a form of suet cake like you see in the bird feeder section of stores. A block of fat filled with seeds, grains, fruits etc. There’s no true recipe, it’s all about what you have on hand and what kind of birds you’re feeding. The constant is a fat source that is solid at room temp.
With chickens, you can do no wrong, they’re omnivores and will eat almost anything. We use animal fats for a plethora of reasons and the other day we did fried chicken for dinner. So I decided to use the left over lard for some flock blocks.
As I said, there’s no set recipe, especially when making them for chickens, use what you have. My base was simple, oats, kitchen scraps, and oyster shells. The kitchen scraps came from my freezer “trash”. In winter nothing decompses so I keep vegetable scraps and trimmings in the freezer for stock and moments like this one.
Many of my scraps we’re potato peels. I decided to boil them first because I couldn’t seem to find wether or not the birds could have them raw. So if anyone knows please let me know lol. After a quick boil I diced it all up.
I poured in the melted lard and then added the oats and oyster shells. The shells are simply for added calcium, you can use regular egg shells if you save yours. Just crush them to a point where they aren’t recognizable as shells so your birds don’t get the impulse to start eating the eggs they lay.
No set recipe means no set measurements😂. I know that’ll drive some of you crazy. The oyster shells suggest a 20/1 ratio when mixing with other feed so I simply eyeballed it. The oats I kept adding until the lard quit dripping from my spoon and then I placed them all in molds to solidify.
You want to work a bit quickly to get everything mixed and formed before your fat begins to solidify. In hindsight, I should have used less oats. I didn’t account for how much they would soak up. But all worked out.
Now although chickens are omnivores, there is too much of a good thing. Too much fat at once can become problematic, but yet again, I haven’t found specifics on how much that is. I have a flock of 14 so to stay on the safe side I give the girls 2-3 muffin sized blocks a week. Tip: when feeding place the block on something of contrasting color. At first I was heartbroken because I didn’t think they liked it😂 but turns out they just couldn’t see it. You could also hang it for them and give them something to play with.
Have fun with it! Your birds will thank you and it gives you another great way to cut down on waste.