How To Give Your Hens a Warm Breakfast

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It feels like I was just gushing about fall color, and today I woke up to this.

Where did fall go?

Where did fall go?

It's a chilly, dark, winter looking morning. I went into the coop to do the regular chores, and realized it was 28 degrees in there. Brrrrr! I need to insulate it a bit better. I'm happy the humidity was low at 16%, high humidity and cold temps can mean frostbitten combs and wattles for the ladies, which is why I keep a hygrometer in the coop.

Our hygrometer, giving us vital coop info daily!

Our hygrometer, giving us vital coop info daily!

Jared and I were lamenting the cold temperatures after I came in, so we discussed heating the coop. After some research, we decided that coop fires weren't worth risking, and discovered chickens do just fine in the cold (without humidity), and warming the coop could do more harm than good. If your heat source fails for whatever reason, your whole flock won't be acclimated to the cold and could succumb to the sudden temp drop. We will be installing a warmer for the water so it doesn't freeze, and I'll share how we settled on doing that then. Until we get around to that though, I remembered a post Lisa over at Fresh Eggs Daily recently shared about oatmeal for chickens.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Well, that is actually up for debate, and besides that your chickens eat feed. Whether it's commercial or something you mix yourself, it has the right balance of nutrients needed for a healthy flock, so they don't really need breakfast. But where is the fun in that? If you asked my ladies if they need breakfast I'd get a resounding yes every morning. Giving them oatmeal is also an opportunity to mix in some beneficial herbs and spices if you don't already add it to their feed. I won't get into what those are and why, because that's not my area of expertise, It's Lisa Steele's, so read her post for more technical info on what you can add. 

With their best interest at heart, I made our chickens oatmeal. What did I put it in it? All sorts of fun stuff! I used old fashioned rolled oats, sunflower and raisin scratch, mealworms, and the sproutlings I was supposed to be writing about today, but cant, because they failed for some reason. I say "some reason," but I know why. I soaked them too long and likely killed too many of them. Live and learn. Sprouting wheat grass coming next week as long as I don't ruin it again. I swear it is really easy, you just can't forget about them. I'm struggling with organization right now, and remembering to take care of everything that doesn't cry, bark, or squawk is hard.  

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I didn't add any herbs or spices this time. I forgot about them and sort of winged it, but I had a great time with this first batch. What is so fun about this is nothing needs to be measured. Just pour a bit of rolled oats into the bottom of a dish, and cover with boiling water.

Just enough water to cover the oats. Don't worry about trying to cook them, the hot water will cook them enough.

Just enough water to cover the oats. Don't worry about trying to cook them, the hot water will cook them enough.

Add your fun toppings. I did two handfuls of each because I was being generous. In hindsight, it was a bit excessive.

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Stir.

Mmmmmm...tasty!

Mmmmmm...tasty!

Then watch your flock enjoy. 

They ate every bite!

They ate every bite!

It was great fun watching them gulp down the warm nutritious breakfast. I was rewarded with our 5th egg an hour or so later. I have no idea if the oatmeal helped, but it sure didn't hurt! They all will be laying soon. Right now we still just have one layer.

Gorgeous 5th egg!

Gorgeous 5th egg!

To address the concerns that will likely come from using boiling water, it's important to note that this oatmeal cools FAST. It wasn't even steaming by the time I got to the coop, which also debunks a worry that was posted on Lisa's original post, your hens' wattles and combs won't freeze from this. There is no steam to wet them down and cause them to freeze. If you notice your pan steaming, just wait a minute to set it down. The colder it is outside the more likely it is you'll see steam, but that also means it will cool faster. I'd say the oatmeal was around inside room temperature, which feels nice and cozy when there's frost on the ground. It doesn't need to (nor should it) be piping hot.

One more thing, portion control. Treats should only make up 10% of your hens' diet, so they only need a bit each. I gave them enough for each to get a couple tablespoons. I also won't do this everyday, just the extra cold mornings.

Did you give your ladies breakfast today? It would make my day if you shared a photo with me on Facebook or Instagram and let me know what you put in it! 

Cheers!

Bev 

This post contains ads & affiliate links (this links to our full disclosure about browser cookies, and way more than you probably wanted to know about ads and affiliate marketing). We make a small commission when you purchase from some of the links shared in this post. Making a purchase from a link will not cause you to pay more or affect your purchase in any way. It will however, support our wildest farmin' dreams, which is mighty awesome of you.