If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that my hens get spoilt and have lots of snacks.
However, one of their absolute favorite snacks is flock block.
During this time of year, flock blocks are fantastic. My hens love to peck and when the ground freezes over they can’t peck. My solution… homemade flock block.
It keeps there attention for hours.
This is a very simple way to give your birds something to relieve the boredom of winter and help them with extra nutrition and calories to keep them warm!
Chickens use a lot of energy to stay warm during the winter, especially in cold climates. Giving them some added fuel will help them keep their weight up and easily get through the winter.
Unfortunately, some commercial flock blocks have added sugars that chickens’ don’t need. Not only that, but they can be expensive- you can easily spend $20 a week on it.
After a few experiments, I’ve made a good alternative recipe with no added sugars or unnecessary ingredients.
It is also much cheaper to make your own, and what’s not to like about saving money?
Flock Block Recipe: Homemade Ingredients and Equipment
- 2lb of suet (you can use bacon drippings, but the block will not set as well).
- 2 cups of scratch/grains
- 1 gallon plastic jug with the top one third cut off
- Large saucepan/stock pot
- A chain (if you intend to hang the block). I tend to hang my blocks- this way it makes it difficult for rodents to access it and the Beagles’ can’t steal it! If you want to make it as a simple block, omit the chain.
DIY Flock Block Recipe
- Cut the suet into small chunks, they will melt quicker. Then place the chunks into the stock pot- low to medium heat.
Note: Be careful not to splash the fat onto the burners- you do not want a kitchen fire! Keep it low, go slow and don’t leave it unattended!
- When the suet/fat is nearly melted (a few lumps won’t matter), turn off heat.
- Stir in scratch/grains so that they are well incorporated. There should be enough grains to be evenly distributed through the fat. Use more grains if you need to.
- Now, with the plastic contain, position your chain/rope so that it is central.
- Pour the mixture into the plastic jug- be careful, it’s hot!
- Set aside and leave to cool and set overnight.
- In the morning, when the block has set, cut away the plastic container and hang the block for your chickens!
Be careful not to overfeed your girls with the flock block.
Too much fat is bad for them and can cause problems whilst laying eggs.
When I first made peck block for the girls, I gave it to them all the time, but I started getting some rubber eggs (eggs that don’t have shells). It turned out my girls enjoyed the flock block so much they had stopped eating their protein-rich feed which they need to lay eggs.
You can also add calcium to the Flock Block by crushing their eggshells, baking them in the oven, and including them in the recipe.
After I removed the flock block within 2 weeks they were back to laying normal eggs, but it’s something to bear in mind- anything in excess isn’t good! Now I only give them the flock block during the winter months, as it helps fatten them up during the cold months.
Flock Block Recipe: Closing Thoughts
This peck block should last a flock of 12 hens around a week or so.
If you’re looking for other treats to grow for you hens, why not check out how I grow mealworms for my hens.
I hope your girls love it as much as mine do!
Consider giving your hens the flock block as a special treat, a few times throughout the winter. Provide it as a kickstart during their late fall molt, as a Christmas gift, or during the final months of winter, when everyone is working hard to get through to the warm months.
Let us know how you got on making your own flock block… Do you have your own recipe that you use?