Friday, June 21, 2013

Fruit and Veggie Freezer Cake Treats for your Chickens

When I can make a healthy snack for my chickens, I feel good about that.  When I can clean out my freezer and get rid of all of those last little bits of veggies and fruit left over in a multitude of nearly empty bags, or toss the ones that are all frostbitten (and therefore not edible by me), I food good about that too.  But when I can combine those two things, I feel really good!

Yesterday I did just that.  I read a post at Homgrown on the Hill where Mary was making 'Confetti Treat Ice Wreath' based on a recipe that she got from Kathy at Fresh Eggs Daily.  Basically you use a bundt cake pan to make frozen fruit and veggie treats for your chickens to eat on hot days.  It helps to keep them cool plus it's nutritious too.  Kathy suggested that you go through your freezer looking for those little bits of frozen veggies and fruits left over, and if you don't have enough now, start collecting little bits of veggie left overs in a bag or bowl in the freezer until you do have enough to make this frozen treat. 

I love this idea!  Who doesn't have something left over in the freezer that really should be tossed.  Or the last spoonful of veggies left over after dinner -not enough to put away, but too much to just throw away (not that we would do that since we have chickens who love leftovers), but you get the idea.

I used this idea as the motivation to clean out my fridge and freezer yesterday.  I had a surprisingly lot of fruits and veggies tucked away here and there.  I had one bag of California Veggie Mix (cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli) that I never even opened.  It was an off brand so I didn't recognize the bag and apparently ignored it for a long while.  The contents were a bit frosty, but perfectly fine for the chickens to nibble on.

So I tossed all of this into a big bowl and let it thaw out enough that I could mix it up.  I could have put it into a large bundt cake pan as Kathy and Mary did, but my chickens are young and just learning about fresh foods, so they tend to be afraid of whatever I give them the first time or two, then they look forward to it by about the third time I offer it, so I didn't want to waste a big block of frozen goodies.  Instead I used my Giant Muffin Pan with 6 giant cups that will hold about two cups each.  Then I added a little water to bring the level up just below the tops.  And I popped this into the freezer overnight.

Here's one of my frozen cakes ready to be served.  It looks good enough to eat myself...well almost.

I tossed the remaining 5 frozen cakes in to a one gallon Ziploc to be served up later in the week.

I can offer one (or more as needed) on hot days to help the chickens stay cool, while dinning on healthy treats.  Just place the frozen treat (no matter which size you decide to make) onto a dish and place it in the shade where the chickens can enjoy it longer.

My mix included broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, bananas, cooked potatoes, apricots, peaches, celery, and diced apples.  Who knows what my next batch will have, that's the beauty of this treat...its whatever you have in your fridge.

Now lets see what the chickens think of it... Big Red and Barry are always the first to check out any new treats I bring.  Big Red quickly discovered that if she pecks at the colorful spots on the side she gets a cool, tasty tidbit.

Big Red and Barry checking out the new Frozen Treat.
Once Big Red and Barry have given it a few pecks everyone else comes to check out this strange new treat.  There was a little bit of bickering after everyone got in a few pecks at the treat.  Then Big Red ran everyone off (as usual) so she and Barry could have it all to themselves.  But the others are pretty quick so they kept coming back and pecking on the sides (using Barry as a shield between themselves and Big Red).   Big Red finally took a break and the others went to town on it.  I think she got a brain-freeze from eating it so fast.  I would say it was a hit.  They ate most of it before it even had a chance to thaw, so tomorrow I'll bring out two of them.

Do you have some old fruits and veggies in your freezer or refrigerator that you could use to make a Freezer Cake for your chickens?  Go take a look, I was surprised by how much I was able to come up with...and it made so much more room in my freezer too!

Check out the Cool Treat Christine at "A Fly on Our (Chicken Coop) Wall" created.  Thanks for sharing this post Christine, you are a sweetie! 

Keeper of 1 husband, 2 grandkids, 3 dogs,
3 cats, and 17 Chickens!
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Did this post stir something inside of you? If so, Please leave me a comment, I would love to know what you're thinking!!!