DIY Chicken Treats That Kids Can Make
Reading Time: 3 minutes
By Jenny Rose Ryan These easy projects and chicken treats are great for kids of all ages to make and can be adapted to use what you have on hand.
First, pour about four cups of mixed birdseed, cracked corn, sunflower seeds — any seeds your hens go nuts for and are safe for them to eat* — into a big bowl. Mix a packet of gelatin into about a half cup of warm water. Pour this into the seeds along with about three tablespoons of corn syrup and about ¾ cup flour.
Mix thoroughly, then turn the mixture into a greased Bundt pan and pat it into place. Wait at least 24 hours for it to dry, then flip over the pan and coax out the ring.
Hang your chicken seed addiction ring pop in the coop, and watch the seeds fly!
Bonus round: save leftover seed mix and press into greased cookie cutters for smaller everyday treats for your spoiled backyard friends. Shake out when dry.
Frozen Fruit String
Thread a craft needle with kitchen string. Run it through blueberries, grapes, cherries, strawberries — any of summer’s bounty will work — onto the string carefully, working quickly. Stick the fruited string into the freezer for at least two hours until all the pieces are frozen, then hang along your coop just out of reach and watch the jumping.
Corn in a Cube
Drop a small handful of fresh or frozen corn into ice cube trays and fill the remainder with water. Freeze. Pop out a few for treats on hot days.
Kids think this one is wonderfully gross. They’re right.
Make a batch of quick oats and allow them to cool to room temperature (kids can do it in the microwave). Stir in mealworms. Feed to hens. Yes, that’s it. Watch your flock go berserk for this amazing delicacy and laugh with your kids. You can also freeze the mixture in an ice cube tray and pop out as needed.
Chickens love sprouted veggies, and alfalfa is easily available, so why not sprout some for your hens? Grab a large mason jar, pour in enough seeds to cover the bottom, add water, slosh around, then drain carefully through a cheesecloth or dishtowel. Follow this procedure daily until the first seeds sprout, then carefully remove them and feed to your hens. Rinse and wash the remaining seeds and wait for the next batch. While the sprouts disappear down the gullets of your unappreciative hens, the fun part is having kids help with the process of rinsing and watching the sprouts appear. Hooray for nature!
PB Treat Bombs
Mix ½ cup peanut butter with ½ cup flour. Add any dried fruit or seed you’d like. Add water or flour to get the right consistency to roll into balls or form into any shape you’d like. Freeze. You can also put the mixture into muffin cups and freeze it.
Literally Almost Any Leftover
Since hens are omnivores, they will eat almost anything. Let your kids give them pancakes. When it’s time to clean out the refrigerator, feel free to share. Just be sure always to feed foods that are chicken-safe.
Adapt and Play
When working on these chicken treats kids can make, you can easily adapt each of these ideas to what you have on hand. No seeds? Use rolled oats. No fruit? Use broccoli or peanuts in shells. No corn? Peas work great. No alfalfa? Sprout lentils or beans. It’s more about the idea — getting chickens to be their silly selves and enjoying the experience — than the details. Even if things don’t quite come out of the mold right, your hens will still enjoy it. Luckily, they aren’t picky.
Originally published in the December 2021/January 2022 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.