It's apple season! Local apples are plentiful at farmer's markets, in the grocery store and if you're lucky, on the trees on your property. We feed our horses the apples from our trees when we can and store-bought apples other times of the year, and when we have extras, I like to treat the chickens with fun apple treats. Chickens love apples, and the skins and flesh are nutritious treats.
(One warning: Apple seeds contain cyanide, so be sure to core or otherwise remove any seeds before feeding apples to your flock.)
Stuffed Apples - For this fun treat, I use three or four apples, 1/2 Cup of natural peanut butter, 1/2 Cup of unsalted almonds and 1/2 Cup of dried cranberries. You can substitute raisins, sunflower seed or another nut if you wish.
Wash and core the apples, leaving the bottom intact.
Grind the almonds in a coffee grinder or food processor, then mix with the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Stuff each apple.
Your chickens will love pecking at the peanut butter and then eating the apple, which ends up being rolled around the run as they fight to get all the peanut butter out. Be sure to provide them plenty of fresh water anytime you feed them something sticky like peanut butter.
Apple Garlands - Using butcher's twine, thread diced apples, zucchini and popcorn into garlands to hang in the run.
You can also string cranberries, grapes, or sliced banana, zucchini or beets for them.
Hang the garlands in the run for the chickens to peck at. Just be sure to remove the strings once they eat the treats so they don't pull them down and possibly choke on them.
Hanging Apples - You can also wash and core whole apples and hang them in the run. The chickens will work on them slowly, enjoying pecking at them at they hang.
Apple and Seed Garland - And lastly, here's an idea from Beneath the Rowan Tree for wild birds that can be adapted for the chickens. String apples slices with whole fresh cranberries and walnut halves filled with peanut butter, topped with seeds.
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