Winter is here! As I type this, the snow is falling outside and it's Christmas Eve! Every year, I dream of a white Christmas and I'm so excited that it is happening on my first Christmas as a married woman! Alright, back on subject. Chickens, Megan, think chickens... My girls are currently braving the winter weather and all I can think is, "Ok ladies, how can I best help you stay warm...? I know, SOUP!"
Since it's so stinking cold outside, I knew they needed a little something to warms them up. In addition to the vegetable scraps they get daily, this soup has become quite the favorite among these ladies!
When it comes to our chickens, I try my hardest to feed them as best I can and give them things that will help them stay strong and healthy . There are plenty of natural remedies and to aid in healthy chickens. For us, healthy chickens means healthy (and often better tasting) eggs. Today, I will share with you some of the basics I have learned when it comes to natural chicken keeping.
Today's soup featured rolled oats, scratch grains, parsley, garlic, apple cider vinegar and lots of hot water. Don't worry, I let it cool down a bit before I brought it out to them. However, when it's 28 degrees outside, I'm sure they were thankful for water that wasn't frozen over! This soup turned out to be just what my girls needed on a cold December day..
Oats: Oats are a great treat for chickens. They are an excellent source of vitamins and proteins, but are specifically high in calcium. This is essential for egg laying hens because it helps build a strong egg shell.
Parsley: Not only does parsley contain a large amount of vitamins, it also promotes circulatory system development and stimulates egg laying! Who knew an herb could do so much for chicken health?I plan to start growing some in our indoor garden to have on hand for them year round. It's an easy treat!
Scratch Grains: Scratch grains are low in protein and high in calcium, neither of which form a complete diet for chickens but I like to use scratch grains as a treat. Scratch grains help promote the natural behaviors of a chicken such as socialization and foraging.
Garlic: Garlic is an great natural antibiotic and immune system booster. It is also known to increase respiratory health and deter mites, fleas and intestinal worms. I know... some of you readers might not bee fond of the words used in that last sentence, but when it comes to chicken health, all of those bad things can be fatal to a chicken!
You can add smashed or minced garlic cloves into "soup" or also mix in garlic powder into their feed a couple times a month.
Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV helps keep water clean by preventing the growth of algae and bacteria. It also works as an antiseptic as well as promoting digestive and respiratory health.
Apple Cider Vinegar is something I keep on hand in our house for many different purposes so when I found out the contributions it has for chickens, I was thrilled! There are so many simple solutions to pet care!
I will admit, all of these natural chicken keeping ideas were not originally mine. I did numerous hours of research to figure what in the heck I was supposed to do when it came to chicken health. And now (drum roll please), I will introduce you to one of my chicken keeping role models... Fresh Eggs Daily. She lives in Maine and has been a chicken farmer for over a decade. I found her on Instagram and immediately followed her blog. She has so many great ideas and tips when it comes to chicken (and now duck) farming. Check out her blog here and see what else you can learn from her!
To all of my fellow chicken farmers, what are some of your secrets for happy hens this winter?