Tis the season for sending Christmas cards, baking cookies, and wrapping up gifts for those we love. I know many folks out there not only buy gifts for their human family, but pamper their pets this time of year too. While your dog and cat may enjoy a new toy or some catnip, don’t forget about your feathered friends who not only make your breakfast each morning, but provide you with fertilizer, bug control, and companionship!
Unlike your Aunt Edna or your children, chickens don’t worry about getting a Christmas card or how much you spent on their gift. To be honest, your chickens are just happy to see you and for their daily meal. Maybe that’s why I love my flock so much, they are far less demanding them most things in this world. But what do you get a chicken for Christmas?!?!
This time of year can be overwhelming and expensive, so I have included gift ideas, both handmade and store bought, for any budget. But before we get to what your chickens would love to find under the tree, let me point out that sweaters and other clothing (other than a chicken saddle) are not good gifts. Clothing can affect your chicken’s ability to properly keep warm. Chickens need to be able to “fluff up” their feathers in order to trap warm air generated by their body between the feather layers. So skip the sweater and grab them something they will love off our list.
Who doesn’t love a treat?!? Mealworms and grubs can be purchased at most feed stores and online. I know my flock goes bonkers for Tasty Worm Nutrition’s Tasty Grubs. They have more protein then meal worms and are a great healthy snack in the cold days of winter. These grubs are a great help during molting season too. You can also provide your flock with store bought suet cakes to nibble on during the winter season. You don’t have to buy treats for your flock if you are watching your budget. You can make homemade suet blocks right in your kitchen with some bird seed and left over grease from making burgers! If you don’t want to use commercial bird seed, you can use, unsalted nuts, sunflowers, corn and incorporate treats like mealworms and grubs into it. Also, chickens LOVE oatmeal! A nice warm bowl of oatmeal is a great way to start the day.
Winter time can become boring for chickens that spend their days cooped up in their coop or don’t free range. Why not give them a gift that can be used with their treats?!?! The rolling treat ball is a great way to give them their snacks, but make them work for it a little too. Chickens love to peck at it, rolling it around, so food drops out. It is both entertaining for them and you! You can make your own treat dispenser by heading to your dollar store and getting a screw top plastic container and drilling holes in it. It may not roll as well, but it will still keep your flock busy as they try to get the treats out.Grab your flock a suet cake holder for your store bought or homemade suet cakes. You can move it to new locations each time you use it, so your flock has a bit of fun searching for it. It can also be used to hold other food items like lettuce, cabbage, fruits, etc.Another boredom buster you can try with your flock is a swing! You can purchase a premade swing that is easy to install. If you want to go the homemade route, you will need either a 2X4 or a section of tree branch large enough for your chickens to comfortable sit and stand on, a drill, some rope and a couple eye hooks to hang it.
Nest Box Make-Over
Sure, straw will work for filling your nest boxes, but why not take your hens egg laying experience to the nest level?!?! Who wouldn’t want a softer bedding to snuggle into and relax when they are laying an egg. I know if I were a chicken, I would totally prefer softer bedding! You can also throw some relaxing herbs on top to take egg laying time to spa time. Herbs are aromatherapy for your hens. Oooh la la, right? But it does more then that! Besides adding a relaxing environment for you hens to do what they need to do, it also keeps your boxes smelling fresh and naturally keeps bugs and mice away.
Some gifts aren’t necessary, but they can make life for your flock (and you) a lot easier! I know living in Michigan, our winter weather can get downright disagreeable. I hate breaking the ice out of frozen waterers. A heated dog bowl is a great way to avoid having to do this.Some winters we dip down to -30! While I am not a big fan of heating a coop, sometimes you have to bite the bullet. If you are going to add heat for your flock, heat lamps can be fire hazards if not properly and securely placed. A great alternative is to use a flat panel heater with no bulbs that can break and cause fire. Another item you might want to have for your flock is a dog playpen. These make excellent brooders for your spring chicks because they have a top cover. This would also make a wonderful isolation area for injured, sick, or new birds in quarantine.
Of course, once you have your gifts for your chickens, your going to need some poultry gift tags to wrap them with. *wink* I have designed these FREE printable gift tags just for you! Okay, so maybe your chickens can’t read, but I’m sure your friends and family will get a kick out of them on their gifts! Merry Christmas from all of us at the (mis)Adventures!
Download your FREE Christmas Tags